Random Thread - Anything Goes



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  • @mlnews said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

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    American schools are funny. My daughter once got detention (for talking during some silent reading thing) when we were living in New York, and I told her to just not go, what can they do? I mean it's American public schools in the 21st century, they're basically powerless babies. So she didn't, and then they gave her more, and I said don't go. Finally they called me to tell me that she was suspended for two days for skipping detention, and I said "so the worst punishment you could think of was to give her a vacation?"

    When I was in school they'd beat the hell out of me, that still didn't make me really any more of a good student. I think I hated literally every damn minute of school aside from chasing skirt or eating lunch; not because I hate learning, I love it, I just hate the way schools are organised and make learning something worth hating.

    University was different, since I was paying for it personally I cared more. If you think this means I'd make my daughter go to detention in a private school, such as an English-language private school in Moscow, think again, detention is a joke. If my kids do something bad enough, I'll hit punish them myself, almost forgot I was talking to a lot of people raised on Dr. Spock (who gave a lot of great, terrible advice leading to many deaths over the years and continues to, now he promotes veganism).

    We now home school as of a couple of years ago, my kids know more than their peers probably because a lot of school today is just wasting time, especially schools based on American and UK learning methods (since America copied the UK with no child left behind), that is to say: nothing matters but maths and reading, and we'll do the bare minimum to teach them that so we all don't get in trouble, meanwhile we pretend to care about "STEM" careers yet do essentially nothing to help interest children in them. I know that's not an option thought for most people, though, and some kids need brutal, rigid structure.

    I don't associate with really any other home schooling parents, aside from SAM I guess, because so many nut jobs and weirdos homeschool their kids, or "unschool" them, i.e. teach them basically nothing. I mean what could go wrong being taught by a crazed shell shocked father who studied nuclear science and programs for a living now?

    My wife does most of the teaching, for reasons which may be apparent.



  • @tonyshowoff said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    meanwhile we pretend to care about "STEM" careers yet do essentially nothing to help interest children in them.

    What do you do in your home schooling to interest your children in STEM careers?



  • @Obsolesce said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    @tonyshowoff said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    meanwhile we pretend to care about "STEM" careers yet do essentially nothing to help interest children in them.

    What do you do in your home schooling to interest your children in STEM careers?

    Roughly 75% of the stuff my children study is related to science in some way, a little less in technology, because it's everywhere and learning it is trivial unless it's lower than the face value of it but typically most of the time when a politician or teacher says "STEM" they mean "learn to use it" not "learn to make it".

    The topics also include other things, they work on their reading and writing, for example in something my daughter did yesterday: she read about a chemistry experiment, then she wrote down all of the items she needed, what she planned to do, and what the predicted outcome she expected, and then of course later wrote all that happened -- and that's just a single example.

    Maths as well fall into this because of measuring whatever compounds, lengths of time, and so on. We throw things into the mix by doing things like suggesting what can be done to double the size of the experiment, such as if it were making home made flash powder, because with some experiments it's not as simple as just doubling everything up.

    I hate the word "STEM" because it's nonsensical, commercialised, political garbage. Starting from the end, if someone does not like maths, they simply don't, and most people don't ever learn to like it at all. Maths is a tool used in science and engineering. You use it when you have to, otherwise why focus on it? You don't get magical results by more people learning to do mathematical problems without any practical use for it.

    Next, engineering is super vague, well we start them with legos and go on to building things, and also repairing broken electronics, or just taking really old things apart and seeing how they work -- when they were younger I created little shoe boxes of different things they could wire together with batteries and experiment with, like "snap circuits" but better and cheaper.

    My daughter started off interested in building things with Maccano and whatever else, but as she got older, drifted more toward chemistry and electronics. We didn't force her to, we didn't ask her to, we didn't speak the benefits of more women or even men going into "STEM" fields, we just presented her with science and various engineering things and she found her own way, we present all of our children with the full range of not just "STEM" but also art, history, etc.

    For a little while we thought maybe she would be an artist because she spent so much time drawing, painting, and writing, but again as she got a bit older she just lost interest in those things.

    There's more to it and more goes on, and I have more children than that, but at risk of creating a huge manual, that's the gist of it. We just provide them with ways to learn about the world and technology in creative ways, without turning into some boring ass maths game or trying to shoe horn them into stuff they don't like.

    We do supplement with other things to make sure they're rounded out, that's the other 25% and they really tend to find it boring, and that's stuff like typical maths and reading education, etc, you know, what schools basically do 100% of the time with massive gaps of nothing happening at all since primary education is calculated based on how long you spend in school.

    We don't really teach grammar, sure as hell don't teach rote memorisation of spelling in English, as that's a new concept and from American and English schools it's clear that teaching grammar and spelling doesn't improve anyone's language, what does is reading and writing, end of story. The concepts come up naturally though with arbitrary things like apostrophes and of course that's all taught, but having studied the history of the English language and even learned Old English while in University, I can tell you that boring the hell out of kids with learning about gerunds and made up rules about "split infinitives" doesn't help. Reading teaches these things more and how they work.

    As far as interest in technology goes, I've been of the mind for years: if you use a computer or smart phone and you've never had the drive to write programs, then you won't be a good programmer, or even if you are, you'll hate doing it. Not to sound pretentious and it's not a direct analogy, but it's like trying to force art on people, if they never draw or write, nor have the urge to do it, then it's pointless and you only get less appreciation for these things in the end.

    We do provide them with opportunities to be interested in those things and nurture them if they follow that (as I explained above with my daughter and art) but we also make sure they follow through with things they start, and if/when they move onto something new, we work within whatever it is to teach primary subjects. We also challenge them to try out new things, allow them to make mistakes (except with chemistry where it could be dangerous, naturally), or accidentally cause a LED to smoulder as my daughter did last spring, and in fact blowing the whole works of her project by wiring something backward, even though I saw her do it, I didn't tell her. She now checks more often than if I had.

    Learning new things is about seeing what doesn't work and being able to apply their knowledge, and is more important than simply repeating back what's said to you, something that the US and UK used to be very good at, now they're the literal opposite.

    There's also history and religious study which I didn't include in this, and no I am not saying they're the same subject, but that's a bit harder to be creative with. I can include history of art or electronics or chemistry, talk about pioneers of it, what they did, and also about the countries they came from and the history of those countries, but history like maths is one of those things: if you dislike it, you probably always will, though history can be a lot more interesting, funny, horrifying, and strange than maths.

    Three times a week I also spend an hour or two going over various history topics and sometimes we watch documentaries or whatever, depends on their age and so on. It's vastly more history than I think the average American or English student gets anymore due to the huge focus to maths and reading. Religious study comes up basically whenever.

    Overall, "STEM" as some "here's what we must do" concept is garbage to me, it's sort of like how some school I used to live near in the US had some class on teaching kids to use tablets, that's just stupidity. Schools used to push scientific and technological topics really hard, now they don't, and spend almost no time on it but just pretend they're pushing people toward "STEM".

    The fall in these types of careers in the west has more to do with huge cultural shift (more women were in STEM careers in the 60s, 70s, and 80s than today when they're trying to push it) and just laziness and lack of foresight in the entire educational system. Since they're not fighting the USSR anymore, all they care about is "better reading, so memorise more spellings, take more tests, do more homework, memorise more maths, learn nothing new, never apply your knowledge, and one day we'll win!" They think trying to promote "STEM" without any framework to do it in other than saying to do it, will somehow creative magic, but it was investment in these things and getting kids interested in it that helped. Science kits, building things, etc really has given way to sitting and staring at a screen or building things in a virtual world which is at least somewhat creative.

    We limit screen time to about 1 hour per day, unless we're watching a movie together or something. Our kids do not have phones or tablets or anything like that. They do have cousins who are the most boring kids in history because that's literally all they do, sit and stare at a screen, and I'm not saying they're boring, my children think they're boring.

    And this isn't a full time job either, because you can follow similar plans with all the kids and work in similar ways, and get materials online or wherever and suit them to your needs. School is overall around 3 - 4 hours per day, but they spend about another 3 - 4 on their own doing things related, reading, writing, building stuff, various projects, whatever.



  • @tonyshowoff said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    American schools are funny. My daughter once got detention (for talking during some silent reading thing) when we were living in New York, and I told her to just not go, what can they do? I mean it's American public schools in the 21st century, they're basically powerless babies. So she didn't, and then they gave her more, and I said don't go. Finally they called me to tell me that she was suspended for two days for skipping detention, and I said "so the worst punishment you could think of was to give her a vacation?"

    When I was in middle school they screwed up detention so much that it was a HUGE reward system. The more detention you go, the better school became. The ideal was to get as many detentions as possible without getting too many to get suspended. Or, if you got lucky like me, get so many that you get suspended by they fail to keep track of the records and just keep giving detentions.

    Detention made my school day nearly three hours shorter with no negatives. Just massive improvements on the normal punishment of school.



  • @Obsolesce said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    @tonyshowoff said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    meanwhile we pretend to care about "STEM" careers yet do essentially nothing to help interest children in them.

    What do you do in your home schooling to interest your children in STEM careers?

    For us, we do nothing. They get exposed to STEM naturally like anyone should in school (by getting math, science, programming, etc.) but we don't want to push them to STEM, that's a weird American thing that isn't healthy and universities are starting to panic about. My kids aren't interested in STEM, pushing them to it would not do them any favours. They want to work in other areas, and we have way too many kids in STEM stuff now.

    STEM has basically become a catch all for just "the basics" now. It's supposed to mean tech or science fields, but doesn't at all anymore. It's all marketing BS. And it's also become very wrong that America sees STEM education as the only valuable education, rather than looking at the jobs we need to fill and skills people need for them.

    Most careers don't use STEM education. And most STEM programs don't teach STEM.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    @Obsolesce said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    @tonyshowoff said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    meanwhile we pretend to care about "STEM" careers yet do essentially nothing to help interest children in them.

    What do you do in your home schooling to interest your children in STEM careers?

    For us, we do nothing. They get exposed to STEM naturally like anyone should in school (by getting math, science, programming, etc.) but we don't want to push them to STEM, that's a weird American thing that isn't healthy and universities are starting to panic about. My kids aren't interested in STEM, pushing them to it would not do them any favours. They want to work in other areas, and we have way too many kids in STEM stuff now.

    STEM has basically become a catch all for just "the basics" now. It's supposed to mean tech or science fields, but doesn't at all anymore. It's all marketing BS. And it's also become very wrong that America sees STEM education as the only valuable education, rather than looking at the jobs we need to fill and skills people need for them.

    Most careers don't use STEM education. And most STEM programs don't teach STEM.

    That's what I was trying to say but I'm ain't so good with the langages.



  • We homeschool a few of our kids. I know that as far as school goes, I am way more interested in developing my children's character than in teaching them facts from a book. In the day of information being literally right at your fingertips with google, the facts become just facts. I spend my effort teaching them to be good people, and also teaching them things like reasoning and logic, and the skills needed to figure something out. Personally, if I want to know some facts, I can just look them up quickly. Knowing how to apply them correctly to life is the real skill that should be focused on.



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  • @mlnews said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

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    I don't care much for Elf on the Shelf thing, it's weird in the sense it's almost like some sort of secret police. My wife says it reminds her of the Stasi.



  • Elf on the Shelf is totally fucking stupid.



  • @JaredBusch said in Random Thread - Anything Goes:

    Elf on the Shelf is totally fucking stupid.

    Agreed, It seems to me to sort of send the message you should only be good if you're being watched.