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 Author Topic: Your child brings this letter home from school...  (Read 6348 times)
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 July 21, 2011, 03:10:13 AM

Kids should be taught the basics of measurement, not taught measurement systems.  They can be introduced to them, so that they are aware of the different systems, but no one really knows these kinds of things until they are old enough to need them.  Neither a kilometer nor a mile means much in the context of the average 8 year old.

But an inch and a centimeter sure do mean a lot.  I remember sitting there in school and realizing that I could easily guess how long things were in inches, after using them for so many years.  Conversely I learned to weigh things in grams and it's very easy to estimate values when weighing.
I understand you are saying we should have the right to learn whatever system we want, or no system at all.  I just don't see how it's possible to teach someone, say, language without them using grammar.  Why do you feel so strongly about not teaching a particular measuring system?  Are you against people teaching the standard clock, or should people decide how long they want their second to be?  I agree that people shouldn't be pushed to accept what everyone else takes for granted, but at the same time we can't communicate without common language.

I teach my kids the units of measurements that they need for the problem at hand.  My son's tape measure has both a metric and a AS edge.  He could have chosen either, he chose to use the one that made the most sense to him at the time and in the context, which was a foot.  He didn't use either inches nor meters, as either unit would have been less intuitive for his problem.

To illustrate this concept, take another practicum problem that I have not yet used on my kids.  How do you weight a car, using only a pressure gauge, a pencil, a ruler and four sheets of blank paper?  The answer is that you have Dad park the car over top of the paper, trace the footprint of the tyres, and measure the tire pressures.  Then you use the ruler to make an estimate as to the area of the paper, multiply that by the pressure measurements, and add up all four results.

In AS, the pressure is Pounds-Per-Square-Inch so the paper traces are calculated in inches, and then the raw pressure measurement is multiplied.  Add them up and you are done

However, in Metric the pressure unit is the Pascal, or the Newtwon/Meter.  (No, I didn't remember that, like my own kids would do if they needed to, I simply looked it up)  So to start with one would have to measure the area in square centimeters and then convert to square meters.  Not that hard, surely, but an extra step.  Then one would have to multiply out and add up, and end up with Newtons, a unit of force instead of weight.  If the unit is wrong, the answer is wrong; so we are looking for kilograms.  To get there, we would have to involve the exceleration of gravity (2.2 m/s squared, if I recall correctly).  So the math just got way more complicated, unless the problem solver knew the shortcut that a Newton was (roughly) equal to 102 grams at Earth gravity or knew to look it up.  But why would an eight year old know that, or choose to go to the trouble?  This just illustrates what I have said about Metric in other threads, it workds well for sciences beause it was invented by scientists for their own ends.  AS appears more complicated, but is usually more practical in practice becauseit was evolved by people who freely (in most cases) choose to use those particular units.  The student should be able to use whatever unit of measurement he favors.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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Rassah
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 July 21, 2011, 06:21:10 PM

I think "standards of measurement" is a pretty dumb thing to argue about when teaching your kid. I grew up on metric, came to US, was all "wtf is this foot and inch stuff?" and now after many years forgot metric. But I can always look it up.

What would concern me most is that parents, not being aware of what new knowledge is out there (without research on multiple subjects being their full time job), could be stuck teaching their children only what they themselves know. Sure, basic math, basic science, old literature, and geography don't change much, but by choosing to "not subjugate your child by letting the state decide what to teach," a homeschooling parent can inadvertently subjugate their child to what a book publisher, who write their books for state use since they're their biggest client, decides the child should learn, without an experience teacher being able to comment on current events. i.e. school or state, the only difference is method of teaching, not information (plus maybe some personal political/religious bias).
And yes, home schooled children can beat the crap out of public school children in things like basic math, science, and english, but as I said, those things don't change.  (as example, my high school science/astronomy teacher tended to go on tangents about theories of warped/limited universe and basic string theory stuff, despite it not being covered in the book, and allowed students interested in the topic to stay and discuss after class)

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 July 21, 2011, 06:27:37 PM

I teach science and I love it when a student refuses to just accept what I'm saying. A good teacher would use this as an opportunity to explain how we logically determine truth. Since this teacher did not know that a mile is less than a kilometer, I bet they are not very good.

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 July 21, 2011, 06:47:39 PM

I think "standards of measurement" is a pretty dumb thing to argue about when teaching your kid. I grew up on Metric, came to us, was all "wtf is this foot and inch stuff?" and now after many years forgot metric. But I can always look it up.

What would concern me most is that parents, not being aware of what new knowledge is out there (without research on multiple subjects being their full time job), could be stuck teaching their children only what they themselves know. Sure, basic math, basic science, literature, and geography don't change much, but by choosing to "not subjugate your child by letting the state decide what to teach," a homeschooling parent can inadvertently subjugate their child to what a book publisher, that is also used by the state, decides the child should learn, without an experience teacher being able to comment on current events.
And yes, home schooled children can beat the crap out of public school children in things like basic math, science, and english, but as I said, those things don't change.  (as example, b=my high school science/astronomy teacher tended to go on tangents about theories of warped/limited universe and basic string theory stuff, despite it not being covered in the book, and allowed students interested in the topic to stay and discuss after class)

This is a common error that observers make.  Homeschooling is a misnomer, as the kids rarely stay home.  For example, my kids have art, dance and singing classes and a weekly 'co-op' set of classes taught by other parents.  I also have access to retired teachers who do contract work.  My kids took two years of Spanish from one such teacher, who formed a weekly class of about 12 homeschooled students, who then met at a local public library.  The reason that homeschoolers tend to do so well in every subject is because homeschooled children are taught how to think far better than that can be developed as a skill in a large classroom setting.  The only professional skills that teachers are taught, that other college graduagtes are not, are the skills of crowd management and child psychology, which are both neccessary when dealling with 30+ children for hours each day that you don't know in a familiar way.  Institutional educations is profoundly efficient, but that does not mean that it's more effective.

While I might not be able to teach my own children how to play a piano, I still have far more access to those who can than the average public schooled child or his parents.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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 July 21, 2011, 06:54:17 PM

The child should be commended for thinking for himself.  I am in a graduate-level social work program, and I often find myself taking the role of both child and parent in the classroom on a regular basis.  I have probably challenged every professor at least a dozen times for misinformation, hypocrisy, blatant contradictions, etc.  I have found that there are upsides and downsides to this.  Perhaps the greatest downside is that you can become marginalized -- it seems the vast majority of people do not challenge anything and they will often see you as a troublemaker with a chip on the shoulder.  At the beginning of the 2nd semester last year, I had a professor tell me that I was already well-known by all the professors at the college (and not in a good way) because I would consistently challenge/question anything that I couldn't accept based upon prima facie evidence.  On the other hand, by continuously challenging the material, I felt as though I had a much deeper understanding of it than my fellow classmates did.  I used to simply accept things that authority figures told me, and, even though I had always gotten good grades, I had to work much harder.  Now, because I have habituated myself to question everything, I maintain a 4.0 without breaking a sweat -- learning has become fun, and not work.  In fact, if I were to suddenly receive anything less than a 4.0, I'd feel that I devolved to a monkey or something.  School is ridiculously easy if you can get outside the cognitive box they try to force you into.  On that note, not every authority is to be respected.  Competent authority is to be respected.  Teaching can be a noble profession, but teaching misinformation is not noble.  Give the kid a lollipop.

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Rassah
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 July 21, 2011, 06:56:48 PM

The reason that homeschoolers tend to do so well in every subject is because homeschooled children are taught how to think far better than that can be developed as a skill in a large classroom setting.

Bah! "Thinking" is for college/university grads. We only need high school diploma types for things like fast food and assembly line work.

BTW, sounds like your "home schooling" is actually a distributed version of private schooling/tutoring. I'd even go so far as to say "my children are taught by private tutors we hire," since "homeschool" suggests the parents keep their kids at home, and tech them themselves in their own garages, from material they either picked themselves, or were provided by their church/political cult.
I'm all for private tutoring, if you can afford it, btw.

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 July 21, 2011, 07:49:54 PM

The reason that homeschoolers tend to do so well in every subject is because homeschooled children are taught how to think far better than that can be developed as a skill in a large classroom setting.

Bah! "Thinking" is for college/university grads. We only need high school diploma types for things like fast food and assembly line work.

Yeah, and that is exactly how the public education system is designed.  To provided the education levels necessary to get by working for someone else.  That's why the wealthy don't send their kids to public schools.

Quote

BTW, sounds like your "home schooling" is actually a distributed version of private schooling/tutoring. I'd even go so far as to say "my children are taught by private tutors we hire," since "homeschool" suggests the parents keep their kids at home, and tech them themselves in their own garages, from material they either picked themselves, or were provided by their church/political cult.

Well, homeschooling varies dramticly along that kind of scale.  I've never encountered the much feared 'church/political cult' type homeschool family, and seriously doubt that they even really exist in any non-trivial amount.  My wife & I did start out with choosing our materials ourselves, but that is a lot of work.  For the past several years we have opted to pay the money for a packaged curriculum that we think highly of, that is a derivitive of literature based education theory. (http://www.sonlight.com/aboutus.html)  Yes, it's Christian.  No, that's not the overwelming focus.  I have seen such systems that have to have a bible reference for every single lesson, which is kind of superfluous when one is trying to recreate Newton's apple drop lesson on gravity.

Quote

I'm all for private tutoring, if you can afford it, btw.

If you're primarily homeschooling, a few focused classes with professional tutors or co-ops isn't terriblely expensive.  Far less expensive than the \$12K per year per child that the state spends on public education.  All totalled, with the yearly packaged curriculium and the money we spend for coops, group classes, tutored classes and a few museum trips each year; I'd say that I spend about \$8K per year for all my kids.  I could probably afford private school with that (my parents did for myself and my siblings) but homeschooling works well for us.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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 July 21, 2011, 08:02:41 PM

All totalled, with the yearly packaged curriculium and the money we spend for coops, group classes, tutored classes and a few museum trips each year; I'd say that I spend about \$8K per year for all my kids.

Sadly, that is a ridiculously high amount for a lot of people. Especially if you have 2 or 3 kids. But, I guess the answer to that is "PRIORITIES!!!"

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 July 21, 2011, 08:06:29 PM

But, I guess the answer to that is "PRIORITIES!!!"

If your boat is more important than your child's education, then public school really is the best place for them anyway.  At least then they would actually have a decent chance of getting a decent education.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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 July 21, 2011, 08:07:26 PM

All totalled, with the yearly packaged curriculium and the money we spend for coops, group classes, tutored classes and a few museum trips each year; I'd say that I spend about \$8K per year for all my kids.

Sadly, that is a ridiculously high amount for a lot of people. Especially if you have 2 or 3 kids. But, I guess the answer to that is "PRIORITIES!!!"

That's ridiculously high if they have one kid. for - 3 , I think it was - It's a damn fine deal.

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Rassah
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 July 21, 2011, 09:04:52 PM

All totalled, with the yearly packaged curriculium and the money we spend for coops, group classes, tutored classes and a few museum trips each year; I'd say that I spend about \$8K per year for all my kids.

Sadly, that is a ridiculously high amount for a lot of people. Especially if you have 2 or 3 kids. But, I guess the answer to that is "PRIORITIES!!!"

That's ridiculously high if they have one kid. for - 3 , I think it was - It's a damn fine deal.

Oh, wait, I misread that at 48k per kid. I take that back, sorry. Does seem pretty cheap.

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 July 21, 2011, 09:18:21 PM

What do you do?

Increase his allowance.
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 July 21, 2011, 09:21:46 PM

What do you do?

Increase his allowance.

Ha! +1.

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Rassah
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 July 21, 2011, 09:26:06 PM

What do you do?

Increase his allowance.

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Alex Beckenham
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 July 22, 2011, 01:33:01 AM

Since this teacher did not know that a mile is less than a kilometer, I bet they are not very good.

I hope you were kidding.

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 July 22, 2011, 01:35:27 AM

Since this teacher did not know that a mile is less than a kilometer, I bet they are not very good.

I hope you were kidding.

Kidding, or dyslexic.

I do that sort of thing all the time. I've learned to double check my work.

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 July 22, 2011, 06:59:58 AM

Yet another reason homeschooling should be outlawed or regulated.  Knowing the metric system is a requirement for anyone of even moderate intelligence and education.  The US is the only country on earth that still uses the imperial system and the metric system is even used here for any type of science work above a elementary school level.

Regardless, you missed the point of his post.  He's making fun of Fox News for being a US propoganda outlet.
Not necessarily. They are an extreme-right-wing-Republican't propaganda outlet. But it serves internal purposes only, it's not like they care that much about the world that they would try to shape our opinion about the US in any way. After 9/11 maybe, you could get FNC for free on several European satellites, but then they found out that their tactics don't work and people would still prefer CNN International.

Homeschooling is actually outlawed over here and not many people complain about it. In fact, it's said that although the selection process is unfair and too early (basically your child's future is determined by their performance in 4th grade), it's because it's a multipartite school system that there are not that many private schools. You can send your kid to a school that has the right profile for you, be it scientific or linguistical or whatever.

I agree that little children might be overwhelmed by the Metric system when all they know is that they are 4 feet tall. But that's why the US has finally switch to the evil Metric system. C'mon, if America Jr. (Canada) could pull it off, you can too! In fact, you did it already! I came across something called the Metric Conversion Act, but that only applies to trade and commerce.
It might be more "intuitive" to use the system you grew up with, but calculating in US customary units is just hellish. Or can you tell me how I can convert a quarter mile into yards easily? My navigation system displays yards but the road signs are in fractions of a mile, oh my.

On the other hand, I still want to be able to order a "footlong" at Subway and not a "30 centimeter long" submarine-shaped sandwich. Plus, here in Europe they cheat us by .48 cm (= 4.8 mm, see how easy it is? I didn't need a calculator! ) on each sandwich!

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 July 22, 2011, 11:41:40 AM

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 July 22, 2011, 12:08:56 PM

Have anyone thought about teaching children to learn instead of all that less significant stuff that was mentioned ITT?

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 July 22, 2011, 07:10:18 PM

Teaching people to learn is indeed an worthy endeavor

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