Monday, May 27, 2013

Alex Gets A Mountain Bike



Song:  Promise (final version)

Artist:  Thomas Bergersen


We started out our day by going back to The Reef for Sushi...Al Fresco.




Alex, and I, discussing a topic.

I love hearing Alex's rationale behind his decisions.

He is very pragmatic...very reasonable.

The only time I get completely lost...
 is when he talks of complex, or advanced, mathematical theorems.

OK...

they don't have to be complex, or advanced, before I get completely lost  :)




We started out with great appetizers...
and Alex went on to eat a very large amount of food.

He is growing so quickly...
we have seen his appetite grow just as a quickly.

Alex has a great appetite for good food...
for learning...
and for great adventures in life.

That is what I love to see!


After our dinner...
we went shopping at the local Super Walmart for Mountain Bikes for the whole family.



We had choosen the same 29" Mountain Bike for both, Alex, and me.



Momma got a 24" Mountain Bike for herself.

We got our helmets, a 3 bike carrier for the Minivan...
and I have been researching the hundreds of miles of local biking trails
all within a 1-2 hour drive from us...or so.

Many are just 20 to 30 minutes away...
and we also have the local hill trails in our neighborhood.


There are just SO many trails to experience 
throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountains...
around local lakes...through the high desert...etc.
We plan to ride on many of them in the future.


I got the following pictures from various online sites of local bike trails.









I will, of course, have on a rucksack filled with 
emergency medical equipment, food and water...tools and spare tubes...etc...
however, most of these trails are easily navigated on foot if necessary...
and within a few hours walk of our vehicle...
 in case of a major breakdown or injury.

We are going to start out on easy routes...
and work our way to the many downhill runs on the local mountains...
in preparation for the down hill run at Mammoth Mountain.

We are really looking forward to the great family activity that is Mountain Biking. 
There are so many easily accessible places of year round natural beauty...  
of which we shall take full advantage.

Once all of our gear is bought...
and with everything so near...
the expense of having year round adventure is negligible.

Whether it be skiing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, or camping
(our main enjoyment is watching our son enjoy himself in the great outdoors)...
the memories of which, as a family, will be created and never forgotten...
the outdoors shall help forge Alex into a man of great love for natural beauty...
and that of life...
and an even greater love of his future family.









Friday, May 24, 2013

A Bar-B-Que In Alex's Honor



Song:  Come Saturday Morning

Group:  The Sandpipers


This is still one of my favorite songs.
I had first heard it when I was 9 or 10 years old.

It reminds me of happy times in my childhood...
of wide open fields, rivers, lakes...
and of Bar-B-Ques.


Today was our Bar-B-Que for Alex.

It was to honor his 2100 SAT score.

The last time we had Bar-B-Qued was almost a year ago...
when Alex had taken his first SAT.

We are so tremendously proud of Alex.

Although this was to honor Alex...
I am so honored to be Alex's father.

His drive to excel, his gentleness, and his happiness in life
are what make me feel so fortunate in life.




A big difference from our original Bar-B-Que that we had used 
to celebrate Alex's 2012 SAT.


Our old Bar-B-Que  :)

We shall now use the old one for camping trips.





I had Alex light the Q.

He was very cautious of the fire.

I was glad to see this.

It is carelessness in a child that leads to accidents.


I was showing Alex how the coals are not ready to cook over
until they are all white.




Alex helping put on the first rack of food.




This salmon was all for Alex
(he ate it all...and some sausage).

The salmon was light, flaky, and juicy.
Alex loved it.


This was our second rack of food.


Alex enjoying a well deserved special desert of Red Velvet cake.


Earlier today...
we met with the High School Dean.

We were discussing possible alternative classes for Alex...
for next year.

He is quite bored in his math classes at school
(even though they had put him in with the high school students for 
one of his math classes).

The Dean promised to look into possibly
having Alex attend the University of Nevada in Reno for Math
(and getting dual credit for it).

I had told him that, as I am retired, I could take him there at any time...
and stay there until he is ready to return...
and if need be...I could attend the classes with him.

Other alternatives discussed was possibly having a University professor...
or even some advanced students from the University
 going to Coral Academy to teach Alex there...
or having Alex take Math on-line at school...
and going at his own pace (essentially challenging the courses).

We may also have Alex take at least two math classes at a time 
instead of having an Elective.

Alex's school has been very accommodating to us.

Alex's future is so bright...
filled with so much hope and happiness...
I cannot help but be optimistic about the events yet to unfold.

As for today...
it was a time for celebration.

Family...
Good food...
Good times.

It was a good day.

--------------------

Post Script:

It is now the day after the Bar-B-Que.

I have had a chance to eat the Kababs I had made the night before...

The Good:  They are well preserved.

The Bad:  Only because they are now Jerky  :)


I had a burger last night.

The Good:  No chance at getting E. Coli infection from them.

The Bad:  They came out as dry as cardboard.



In conclusion, I must say...

I have improved 50%...
only half the food was ruined this time  :)
(the fish, the steak, and the sausages had turned out great)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alex's May 2013 SAT Results - 2100 Total




Song:  World Of Dreams

Group:  Future World Music




We just received Alex's May 2013 SAT scores today.

Alex's scores were raised in all categories...
and while Alex was disappointed to not get a perfect 800 in Math
(he regularly gets 800 in practice tests)...
he knows that he simply made a few careless mistakes.

We are all happy in his rate of gain in his weakest areas...
and in his overall SAT total.

Last year, when Alex had taken his first SAT...
he had gotten a total score of 1760.
This year, he had gotten a total score of 2100.

That is an improvement of 340 points in one year's time.

Also...
Alex's 2100 SAT score places him in the top 3% of all 
College bound High School Seniors.

This is the breakdown of his scores in comparison to his last year's scores:


                                   Alex's SAT scores:     2012 (June)     2013 (May)
                                                                       6th grade        7th grade
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     TOTAL                       1760                 2100




We are very happy in Alex's great improvement in his weak areas.


Just to give you an idea of how Alex's individual categories stacked up
to the High School Seniors national average SAT scores
(Alex's scores in red).

                                                                         2012
                                                                      National
                                                                   High School           Alex's 
                                                               Graduating Class    May 2013
                                                                      Average            scores (red)


Alex has been working steadily on improving all of his scores.

Alex wishes to take the SAT again in October.

He feels that he should have done much better...
especially in the Math section.

He wants to work extra hard throughout the Summer to better all of his scores.


What we have been doing throughout this last year...
 proved to be effective.

We shall continue on this same path...
however, we shall not forego his other studies.

We want him to finish his Calculus 2 Thinkwell program this summer...
we will continue with our structured debates...
his Essay Writing and Reading Comprehension exercises...
Alex will be preparing for next year's Patriot's Pen essay contest...
I will be going over the concepts of the Physical Sciences with him
in preparation for next school year's Science class...
and we will have to choose a more cutting edge Science Experiment to do.  
Alex really wants to do well in next year's Science Fair
(there is heavy competition in this subject at his school).

Also, Alex wants to keep practicing for the next SAT...
as well as for next year's MATHCOUNTS competition.
Alex has a very solid chance of going to the National's next year.


As I have stated before...
the path to improvement is the same 
for his strengths...
as well as...
 for his weaknesses.

Parental involvement through the structured guiding of his daily studies...
portioned out in easily digestible conceptual pieces...
leads to incremental daily improvement without frustration.

I have been helping Alex review for his finals at school
(which start tomorrow).


Tomorrow evening...
we will be having a celebratory Bar-B-Que in Alex's honor
(for my part...not only have I bought a much better Bar-B-Que grill...
I have been watching the Food Channel to improve my grilling skills  :)

Alex's great improvement in his SAT scores...
 have brought all of us great happiness.

It told us...
not only of Alex's great resolve to improve himself...
but of our correct path in his home supplementary studies.

Of course...
much credit must also go to his school.

They demand advanced writing in all of his subjects.

This gave us ample opportunity to work with Alex 
to improve this particular area.

This summer...
we will also combine our fishing attempts with some more shooting practice
(When we bobber fish...especially with our track record...
we expect plenty of down time  :)

We will also go camping...
and I will teach Alex more field craft...
and basic survival skills.


I will get our Mountain Bikes this weekend.

Alex, and I, will be practicing in the nearby hills for our 
Mammoth Mountain downhill ride...
which we will hopefully achieve sometime this summer.

However...
we will put it off for one year if I feel Alex
has not acquired the necessary skills to negotiate the downhill
mountain bike paths of the 11,000 ft. mountain.

As always...
safety first.







Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Focus On A Child's Strengths




Song:  Breakthrough

Artist:  Mark Petrie



First...
read this article:




For the original page:




The world
doesn't care about the small stuff...
just about results.

Whatever makes them stronger...
whatever gives them the best results...
they want above all else.

A company needs to, not only survive
in the ultra competitive world...
it needs to thrive.

Just as pro sports teams draft only those who can perform
at the top of the game...
regardless of individual quirks...
so it is in business.

Those who perform at the top...
got there by focusing on their strengths.

So long as no deficits hinder true performance...
or otherwise make it impossible to work in the specific environment...
eccentricity is not only tolerated...
it is often the hallmark of the exceptionally gifted in their fields.

It is never about normalizing a child.

Just by definition...
it is to be average...
part of the norm...
always wishing to be a perfect fit on the inside of a jigsaw puzzle...
instead of being on the cutting edge of it...
a corner stone of excellence.

The edge puzzle pieces are always the most important ones.
They set the parameters of all to come...
they determine the final shape of the puzzle.
All follow the edge pieces.

It is always about playing to a child's strengths.
The path to his strengths is also the path to the moderation...
or the conquering, of his deficits.

Take a look at the greatest baseball players in history.

Very few are known as masters of both, the field...
and the bat.

They had focused on what they loved...
and what they had done best.

Although they had deficits in the other areas of play...
they had done well enough to allow their strengths to shine through.

What they were remembered for...
was in that which they had excelled.


One of the ways to fail...
is to focus on the deficits in life.

To focus on NOT doing something...
not only teaches nothing...
it actually increases the incidences of occurrence 
in all but the most disciplined.

Many psychological experiments have shown that
when a person is told to NOT do something...
even when they know it is wrong...
the fact that their mind is focused on the wrong...
increases their impulse to do that particular act.

It is the only thing on their mind...
they only know the dread...
the fear of the negative...
when instead...
by simply telling a person what needs to be done...
by giving them a positive avenue to focus on...
they then lose all focus on any deficits...
and instead concentrate their efforts on what is to become their strengths.

He will then develop drive, and a passion for his strengths.

Driven by passion...
he will achieve through repetition...
and completely focused actions.

The mind can only focus on ONE thing at a time.
By focusing on positive actions...
there is only time for positive results.

Deficits (compulsive or impulsive) automatically moderate
 by simply diverting any impulse for the deficits
to that of the positive.

For the deficits which involve effort to improve...
the same path to the achievement of his strengths...
is the same one for the conquering of his deficits.

I will use my earlier life as an example.

I had many compulsive, impulsive...
as well as developmental deficits early in life.

For the conquering of all of my major deficits...
it was by the same path...
by focusing on what was to become, my strengths.


I had an overwhelming compulsion to turn in circles whenever
I had to deviate from a straight path while walking
(I also tracked my hand motions...
if they had made a circle...such as on a game board...
I had to unwind the circle after placing the game piece down).

I had to smell every bite of food before I ate it.

My feet became so unbearably hot that I went barefoot
as much as possible...even at school...when I could get away with it.

I had a sense of compression and heat building up in my body...
which could only be released by a sudden and explosive utterance...
which strangely... sounded like a blaster in Star Wars 
(a decade before Star Wars came out...and yes...I had a good inward laugh
when I had first seen Star Wars a decade later and had heard that old familiar sound :)

I chewed on objects...
I had to crumple my papers into a ball
(my sixth grade teacher named me Crinkles because I kept my homework 
assignments in a compressed ball in my pants pocket.  
Of course...when I took them out and unraveled them...
the papers were full of crinkles :) ...
my limbs would sometimes want to suddenly jerk 
without me knowing ahead of time...
my legs were so uncoordinated as a youth
(until 3rd grade or so)...
that if I tried to run straight...
I ended up making a wide left circle...
and so I had to initially aim my direction far off to the right...
so I would end up in the right place...
my handwriting was almost completely illegible...
even after hours of concentrated practice...
and an all so frequent occurrence in the classroom...
just as one nods off at the steering wheel without realizing it...
and only noticing upon awakening...
I had found that I had been in my own world while the teacher 
had been explaining something...
and I was jerked back to reality when the teacher called out my name...
to answer a question I had not heard in the first place.

These were some of the compulsions and unconscious acts
I had suffered in my early years.

After a few years of these compulsions...
I had realized that by my telling myself NOT to do them...
it made things even worse.

The more I thought about them...
the worse the symptoms became...
so...I merely used common sense...
and I tried the opposite approach.

I then diverted my attention to a single unrelated action.

I had clenched my fists as tightly as I could...
just to the point before cramping...
and I would then fully open them...
and leave them open in all my actions.

I had found that the build up of stress melted away.

I later got heavily involved in sports...
and I kept the same technique of open hands...
as I had found that I could coordinate my body effectively in this manner...
and that I maintained a relaxed state while under physical and psychological stress.

Although I had not known it at the time...
the keys to athletic performance
(and my key to conquering my deficits)...
is mind - body unification 
(open hands allows the largest muscles of the body to contract first...
allowing an effective chaining of muscular effort)...
and the ability to operate in a relaxed state under stress.

It was only when I could control my body...
did my mind become more free.

The main point I must stress...
it was not done by concentrating on what NOT to do...
it was done by concentrating on what TO do.


----------------


Look for the strengths in your child...
nurture a strength in an area of academics...
make it his.

The path to excellence in one area... is the same for all.

By focusing on doing well...
there is neither time, nor desire, to focus on the negative.

Allow his pride to lead to passion...
and his passion to lead to excellence.

Conquer the large things in life
through concentrated effort...
the small will either take care of themselves...
or they simply won't matter.















Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Alex's Self Designed Science Final Test



Song:  Rise

Artist:  John Dreamer



In preparation for Alex's finals in Life Science...
besides his normal review...
Alex had asked his teacher if he could design a practice final exam...
and get extra credit for it.

His teacher agreed, so, this evening, Alex typed up his practice final Science exam...
which he will turn in tomorrow.

It took Alex 2-3 hours to design and type up this final exam.

He loves designing his own tests...
and it is an excellent way to study.


























ANSWER KEY








Alex always has a lot of fun designing his own tests.


For Home Schoolers...
this is a good exam for Life Science.

I included the whole test so home schooling parents may use it.















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