In my previous post, I started discussing ways that you can begin to free up some of your life, and begin homeschooling. This post is an update to my original article, but I definitely think it deserves an update in the midst of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. So today, I’d like to touch on some easy best practices that you could implement if you:
are in a situation where your child must remain in school due to your work-life or because the other parent is not in agreement with homeschooling when students are called to return to school
you want to try doing what you can, but are not ready to make the full commitment at this point
So Coronavirus/COVID-19 has you and your child quarantined. So why don’t we discuss the future, and discuss the challenges and discussions that often go on between parents when both or one has to teach your child at home. As always, I want to ask you to be rather introspective.
Are YOU really ready to homeschool your child?
Is YOUR life set up to teach your child?
Sorry, but now is no time to talk about whether you think your kid can handle it or whether your school system will rescue you and come up with a solution. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, and why are you so trusting that their solution is the proper one? I want you to sit back and really think about whether you really want to make this commitment.
Exercise is a part of my life and no matter when, where and how much I have worked over the last 25 years, I made time to exercise. That meant training at 4am, 5pm (which is absolutely the worst time to train in any gym) or 11pm. It was a priority for me and to not exercise was far worst than whatever less than optimal conditions I had to train in.
This is the kind of commitment I want you to make with homeschooling your kids. If you have done so, let’s begin working on some strategies to get you ready now that you and/or your child are at home.
First, start with you exercising your freedom working from home.
The school week is about to start, but the kids are home due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19, so what should you do now? Should you view this as you would spring break? Should you give them some work to do? Should you contact the teacher to see if they have any work for them to do during this time?
I spend a great deal of time in the gym and at my age, injuries from squatting or deadlifting always seem just one more rep away when I’m really pushing hard in a power phase. Every so often, a minor injury does occur, but I rarely stop training all together.
Detraining can occur as quickly as two weeks and I never take that much time away from the steel. Since I workout with weights consistently four days per week, all year around, for 20+ years, a small “injury break” is a good reminder that the supporting muscles need to grow to support the prime movers that might need a well-deserved rest.
Now, I want to evaluate using the same approach with your child. If your kid(s) have been running at 90 mph since Christmas break, due to an hour of homework after school, sports practice and other activities, a break may be in order. If the schools remain shut down for more than two weeks, we can transition to other strategies (as you’ll see below), but for now, if they are exhausted and never have a chance to just play, now may be the time to allow them to play and explore the outside world. The younger they are, the more this is applicable.
But let us assume that either this extends beyond two weeks or you desire your kids to not get detrained mentally at all from the closings, I want you to start Monday morning or whatever the next day is prepared. First, remember that you are now acting as the “supporting muscle” to what the school or “prime mover or muscle” has been likely doing for years. Determining when your child gets up, eats, goes to the restroom, works, plays and goes home. Side note, if that sounds like the prison or military, there’s a reason for that and another reason why I do not send my children to school, but I digress. Overall, now that’s your job because those big muscles are taking a break and there is nothing you can do about their decision.
First, and this is a good evaluation for you, what are your kids learning in school and do you know where they are at in terms of development, interests and goals? I can tell you, I don’t think my parents ever had a clue about what I was learning in school. They knew what grade I was in and that was likely it. As long as my report said I was a solid A or B student, all was well. Conversely, I often have to think about what grade my kids are supposed to be in, but I know exactly what they are doing and what they are capable of producing. How about you?
If you do not, now is the time to ask and get acquainted with their progress so you know where they are strong and where they are weak. Just because your son can hook up the Xbox to the TV or play Call of Duty with four monitors he hooked up, doesn’t mean he’s “good at and likes computers”. Find out what they are studying in school and find ways to now supplement those subjects at home. Sure, higher levels of math may need to wait, but even then, I’m sure places like Khan Academy and YouTube have you covered. If you really want to jump off into this, I highly recommend my kids math teacher (no, it’s not me). Now, for other topics you can supplement, begin to brainstorm how to do so.
If they are in elementary school, that should be rather easy so I will not take up space now to go into details. But please let me know in the comments below if you would like some tips for that age. But for perhaps, 7-12th grades, let the fun begin! First, start with their favorite topic outside of school. Next, find out what their favorite class is in school right now. Then, and keeping it simple, develop a writing assignment that requires reading, some research and maybe even some data analysis. You can do this for 2-3 other topics that they enjoy as well. Again, depending on age, you can start with a 500-word essay, or bump it up to five page assignment. It is entirely up to you. Let me warn you, you may be surprised at your child’s skill level, as it could definitely be far worse than you think or (hopefully) far better.
Sound too simple? Think about this then, if you were pursuing your Master’s degree or definitely your Ph.D in a particular field, when you are preparing for your dissertation, are you in class every day? No, you are out there doing research! You do not have time to be in class gaining instruction, that time has passed, now it is time for you to take all of what you have learned and use your new found expertise to produce something noteworthy in your field of study and prove what you have learned. I would like you to ask your child to do the same.
I am giving you just one example as I know you may be saying, “But that is not enough work for them to be doing.” Why do you think that, because school has always been about being shuffled from class to class and filling up an eight hour or so day? Again, your home isn’t school so you don’t have to have such a rigid schedule resembling boot camp or prison. When your company forces you to work from home (as many are doing at this time), I hope you find that you can be far more productive at home (assuming you have an office type job of course) than you can at your desk. After working from home for nearly five years, I find that I can get much more done in less time. If I cannot, and many employees cannot, it would be due to my/our own lack of discipline. So if your kid cannot focus for a few hours on a topic they enjoy, then welcome to their teacher’s world! Because I’m willing to bet that they do not focus too well in class either with hours spent on topics they often could care less about. I mean, why was I, a Black child, learning about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in school, and do you think I cared? That stint in English class almost killed my love of books and reading! I certainly did not feel comfortable listening to “Nigger Jim” in a class full of White students that’s for sure. So, I’m sure you can do better and create more enthusiasm for your child at home during this time.
Now, once the topics are chosen, what books do you have in your house to support the work? This is another good evaluation as to whether you have a good learning environment in your home. Remember, these are topics that your kids enjoy. Therefore, I hope there are materials in your home currently that they are interested in reading. If you do not have the books at home, Amazon is your friend, and you now have your first outside activity, assuming that the libraries are still open.
Side note: Speaking of Amazon, order physical books and not audio or online versions. If anything, instead of hoarding toilet paper for some insane reason during this time, become a physical book hoarder. After all, what kind of world are we creating where our knowledge could mostly be wiped out with the push of a button or loss of power? The movie, The Book of Eli should have showed us something there…
Perhaps the libraries are closed and your child loves history. Again, online research and documentaries make this an easy one. But the one activity I love far more that I have my kids do all the time is to have them interview family members. We often forget that the greatest link to history isn’t a book, but the living eyewitness accounts of those that lived during that era that we can talk to and hear their voice, the emotions in their stories, etc.! So calling grandparents and other relatives that lived during a particular time period is extremely rewarding. First, they get to connect, which is something we all probably should have done more of with our elders when we were younger (remember the dead air when you called grandma to thank her for the gifts?). Second, they learn about their own family history and pull things out of their elders that may not have even been shared or thought about for some time. Old folks, like myself, love to talk to younger folks and share their wisdom, mistakes and the lessons learned from the past. Obviously, if they want to talk about the 1500s, I doubt if granddad is still alive, even though he might seem that old to a 14-year old. In that case, try to find the history buff in your family. They can watch a documentary, perhaps even together, and then your child can interview them or tell them what they learned and get feedback and their knowledge on the topic.
So that’s all for now as there are so many options and those are just a few that I have used over the years that I think you could use for now. I wanted to get you thinking and starting to plan. When all of this blows over, I hope the evaluations that you made concerning your knowledge about your child’s education, as to whether your home is a good learning environment outside of school, and the relationship building with you and their elders, are areas that you will continue to cultivate when life goes back to normal.
After an injury, you should actually be stronger in the gym, as your supporting muscles are now stronger and the primary muscle has recovered. My desire is for you to achieve this same goal in your home. Until next time…
How did you get here? You cannot believe it can you. You have never thought about homeschooling but here you are. You’ve heard about those crazy religious, anti-social people homeschooling their kids but that’s not you. After all, the government will always be there to take care of your children right?
Are you feeling a bit hopeless?
The thought of homeschooling seems too daunting, I know. You think you can’t afford to be home or perhaps you are going to be afraid that your kids will grow up with no social skills, but now due to COVID-19 or “Coronavirus”, you may have to be home, and what about socialization? Oh no, it’s recommended that your kids even limit who they come in contact with now.
You use to wonder how would your family and friends feel about you pulling your kids out of school? Would the government come after you? How could you teach math? What if you don’t have them prepared for college? But now larger questions exist, such as, “Will my kids have to make up the days off?” “How long could this go on?” “After the first week, they need the break, but what am I going to have them study and do weeks 2, 3, 4, etc.?”
Oh yes, I have been there for a few of those questions. But regardless of COVID-19, or any other school tragedy that happens at the school of the day, my kids and I will not miss a beat. Don’t believe me, let me tell you a little about us to see if I can help you.
One of Joshua’s favorite books is Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power. The book is one of mine as well, as I have three of Robert Greene’s books in our “vast family library” (a name I give to all of the books we have in our house that have insight into most of our family conversations and questions).
Therefore, I thought of a fun presentation where he would look at one of his favorite laws, and then find people that seemed to use that law in the Bible. After all, the 48 Laws of Power is really a collection of historical stories, with no particular moral judgement, that describe what people have done throughout history to gain power over another individual or country.
So enjoy what he has found and you may be asking, “What is the 3rd Law?”
“It will be infinitely easier for your enemies to thwart your plans when they know what you’re up to. So plant fake clues, cover your scent with red herrings, hide your motives with false sincerity and you will have them exactly where you want them to be and in the end achieve your goals.”
“The third law of power discusses the various ways on how you can conceal your intentions. one way is by sending mixed signals; confuse your enemies or your target/s with decoys or by being ambiguous and unpredictable. Do the things they’d least expect you to do and when they think they’ve got you figured out, do something unexpected and contrary to what they think you are or up to. This was the advice of the infamous courtesan Ninon de Lanclos to a young marquis who was pursuing a beautiful countess. Bysending mixed, ambiguous signals instead of outrightly confessing his love would the marquis catch the countess’ interest. All went well for the young nobleman until he violated Lanclos’ instructions and revealed his true feelings to the countess right away. the countess then lost all interest in him and even felt used and embarrassed.”
TTR Analysis of the Kerner Report in the Nine Areas of Human Activity by 15 year old Joshua.
His homeschooling assignment was to analyze the Kerner Report in the Nine Areas of Human Activity, which as readers know, is the main paradigm of my entire curriculum. So much more can be said about this interesting report put together at the end of the so-called Civil Rights Era, and I plan to do just that, with a narrated version.
Did you ever learn about the Kerner Report in school or home? The report is not revolutionary in thought in any real way. But what it does show from a macro level, is that the United States has always known its racial problems, and how to solve at least some of them with the Black community. Obviously, they knew what policies would even cause these problems, but more on that in future reports.
In my opinion, the reason why the Kerner Commission Report is interesting is because in my Gen-X lifetime, I’ve seen the “L.A. Riot”, “Ferguson Riot” and “Baltimore Riot”, and each time the nation conducts roundtables, reconciliation prayer meetings and worst of all, media reports/discussions all asking, “How can something like this happen and what can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again?”
The Kerner Commission explored why these uprisings happened in the 1960s and how to prevent more uprisings in the nation’s cities in the future. It is striking to see my son answer the question, “Was the report effective?” His response, and the statistics he discovered, indicate that he believes he will see many more uprisings in his lifetime as well.
In these upcoming years, hopefully he will not be a whiny voice exclaiming, “Why?”, or “How could this happen?” Instead, he will be able to offer solutions to those who really desire to change and stay on code towards the real solution to our country’s “race problems”.
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Lexi had the opportunity to present to her college class this week and decided to talk about the Evolution of Blackface. Perfect timing, as we had just watched Spike Lee’s Bamboozled a few weeks prior, but this was going to be a particularly “interesting” topic before a majority white classroom.
She has allowed me to repost her presentation outline (so it does not read like an essay) here on our site. Actually, that is the whole point that I’m teaching her, it is HER work! We write so many papers and do so much research for teachers or our employers, but it is our work, and something in us that we should share for our own purposes and not the benefit of others.
I must also say CONGRATULATIONS to my girl. In one month, she graduates with her Associate’s degree right after clocking the odometer over to her 18th birthday. Since she’s is going to be an English guru, hopefully she can edit dad’s sloppy grammar here on the site (and get him to write more) as well.
Topic: The Evolution of Blackface
Specific Purpose: To Inform my COM 206 class on the evaluation of blackface.
Central Idea: Everyone believes that blackface ended in the 1980’s, but there are still many examples of its presence online and in the news. From its racial beginning, controversial middle, and still foreseeable future.
Attention-getter: Lisa R. Pruitt looked at her 1985 yearbook she edited when she was an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas. She was looking to see if any of the students appeared in blackface. After everything that has been starting to surface from other people’s college years, Pruitt believed she would find some photos depicting the same thing. After some searching, she was surprised to see that there weren’t any, but wouldn’t be surprised if she would have some.
Relevance to audience: The controversy about blackface has been spreading in the news lately, and this issue is one that is important to understand. Not only to judge future politicians and clothing, but to understand history as a whole.
Preview of speech: So, I will give a quick overview of how blackface came to be, what was happening with college students in the 80s, and how it’s being used in the 21st century.
(Let’s first start with the quick history.)
The history of blackface is a very controversial and hidden history.
According to Eric Lott from the book Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class writes that the minstrel show is a, “transparently racial curiosity, a form of leisure that, in inventing and ridiculing the slow-witted but irrepressible ‘plantation darky’”.
Eric Lott continues to say that this was a way of conveniently rationalizing the oppression of black people.
Movies like The Birth of a Nation is an example of blackface. In which white people put on blackface and then made black people look savage and animal like.
The use of blackface dates back to minstrel shows in the mid-19th century
Minstrel shows were the biggest form of entertainment in America before TV shows and movies. These shows often depicted falsehoods about black people to make them seem idiotic and stupid.
After the 1980’s, blackface started to lose its value and instead was being ridiculed. Attitudes started to change about how African Americans are being depicted and whether or not it was right.
(Now that we know some history, let’s jump to the 80s. Where blackface flared until it died, our so we thought.)
For blackface, the 1980’s had many white college students taking part in the practice. This is referred to as the “Great College-Yearbook Reckoning”, stated by Zipporah Osei in “The ‘Great College-Yearbook Reckoning’: Scholars Say Blackface Images Aren’t Outliers”.
Lisa Pruitt also said, “that back then, she and her white classmates weren’t sensitized to the overt racism of blackface”.
This article continues to explain how politicians wore blackface to parties and events during their college years.
Hafsa Quraishi for NPR writes, “both the (Virginia) governor and the attorney general admitted to instances of dressing in blackface for parties in the 1980s”.
Zipporah Osei continues to say that, “Mark Herring, Virginia’s Democratic attorney general, admitted that he too had donned blackface in the 1980s”.
(Now after this time period of college rebellion, we enter the 21st century. This is when we start to see another rise of blackface, but in a different form.)
There are still images of blackface being created today in the 21st century. What’s to say that it will end any time soon.
The NPR article says that, “Back in 2000, when comedian Jimmy Kimmel was the host of The Man Show, he had a recurring skit in which he wore blackface to impersonate former Utah Jazz basketball player Karl Malone”.
In this skit, he would mock Malone’s speech and intelligence while wearing full-body blackface.
Jimmy Fallon also wore black face while portraying comedian Chris Rock in an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2000.
This was being talked about so much that Spike Lee, a famous black director, made a movie called Bamboozled that was released in 2000.
This movie touched on the reality of what would happen if minstrel shows were brought back today in the form of a television show. Not only did it talk about blackface, but it also touched on how black people can sell each the out.
The Italian brand Gucci just got ridiculed for selling a black turtle necked sweater that included a red-lined cut out for costumers’ mouth.
Other brands that had similar racist moments include Burberry with a hoodie that had a noose around it, and H&M with its ad controversy of a black boy wear a shirt that said, “coolest monkey in the jungle”.
Summary Statement: To conclude, blackface is still very much alive and well. Even though we think that no one uses blackface anymore; brands still release clothing that are blatantly racist. Famous comedians today also have put on blackface, yet they seem to be surprisingly quite during this blackface controversy toward the Virginia governor.
Audience Response Statement: Staying on top of this situation is important to understand how your century thinks. Will you still feel the same way you did when you shopped at Gucci before the sweater outrage, or will you know feel disgusted to own their products?
WOW Statement: We can’t get to a world of no racism, it is virtually impossible. But things as blatant as Gucci’s sweater can be resolved with a little common sense and understanding of history.
First I have to say, Happy New Year to you as we enter 2018. No way to not date a blog post as you can look right at the date of the post right?
After a long 2017, I’m very glad to at least have the opportunity for a new start. This year, I’m all about trying to get more content posted. One error I may have made in prior years was not posting in the midst of struggles as I want to help others through the hardships of homeschooling as well. Over the years, people have said, “It’s so easy for you all to do it, but for me…” and then the excuses start flowing. Well, let me tell you, it’s not so easy for us.
The 2017-2018 school year started with me taking over the role as the sole educator. My wife is focusing on building her career as a doula. Therefore, I started teaching my 13-year-old, 11-year-old and to a certain extent, my 16-year-old as well (much less work is required with her as she is in college full-time right now as well). This has been more challenging than I first anticipated for a number of reasons.
First, my “9 to 5” workload did not see the expected decrease. For over a year, I have been playing more of a significant role in our group after the loss of two veteran colleagues. That means more meetings (some useful, most not) and more responsibility to make sure money gets made and customers notice very little of our internal changes.
Second, my Big Homie and Boney have completely different learning styles (although I am hearing there is no such thing…more on that in a future post) from each other and different motivations than my oldest two. While this should be obvious, unlike society’s school, my job is to motivate, meet and lead them in their optimal learning sphere, not just from my learning sphere, a curriculum or other students sphere. Big Homie, once he focuses and if he’s engaged, is a tremendous problem solver. The struggle is to keep him focused. Of course, I’m so glad to be his teacher because if he were in society’s school, he’d likely be doped up on meds to make him “conform”, I mean…pay attention. Boney’s attention span is equally short as well, but she struggles with reading so more hands-on help is necessary for focus and explanation of lessons.
I’m going to be honest with all of you. I confess that there have been many nights I have felt like a failure.
As I have been focusing on work, other household challenges and my own health, there have been too many nights I have gone to bed feeling like I should have done more. I have been trying to at least get seven hours of sleep before starting my 6 A.M. workday in the home office, but that means I’ve gone to bed knowing I need to check work, but I’m exhausted and just don’t have much in me to push through.
I am a big goal person, so now this is one of my top priorities for 2018. I have a personal standard to do better because they deserve more and I know I can do much better. Don’t get me wrong, I think they have learned a ton over the last four months but I know we can do more and accomplish more.
So let me start this year by remembering one of my favorite Fredrick Douglas quotes,
I am standing on that quote right now. If you are homeschooling and struggling, or wondering if you can do this, I want you to stand on it as well. No, this is not easy financially; it takes time, resources, energy to bring it EVERY DAY. There are no days off in this game. But we focus on the payoff at the end of the race, knowing that the years will be gone before we know it. We will look back knowing we have left our footprints in the drying cement of their hearts and minds. My size 12s are there, flat-feet and all saying,
“You have been taughtat an incredible pricebecause you are a worthy investment. Live like one and carry our new tradition from generation to generation. A new family tree and legacy with minds filled byDad.”
It is not easy, but thank God for the grace to keep striving to get it right and for seizing this new year he has given us.
Becoming an engineer, doctor, or lawyer can sound like a boring, and in the case of a doctor, disgusting job. Throughout my childhood, I have changed my mind a lot on the famous question asked to kids…what do you want to be when you grow up? The first thing I remember I wanted to be was a fireman. Because when I was little my mom took me and my siblings to the fire station on a field trip. After that, I wanted to be a doctor, but I grew out of that quickly because I can’t handle seeing people throw up.
The last thing I wanted to be for a couple of years was a veterinarian because I love animals. But after thinking about it for a while I realized that becoming a veterinarian can be just as disgusting as a doctor. Now that I’m 16, in college, and people are starting to ask me what career I want to go into in just a few years. So I ‘m on a quest to find I job that will fit my personality or talent (which is another thing I need to figure out), so I looked up the top five dream jobs that pay a good amount of money.
5. Hollywood Stunt Person
This job has fun written all over it if you like to get hurt. A Hollywood stuntman takes all of the explosions, punches, and risks while pretending to be a famous actor/actress. Stuntman work is not steady work because you need to find movie after movie to work in.
A stuntman gets paid as much as $100k for doing their stunts
Must attend a stunt training school.
4. Power Line Helicopter Pilot
If you like heights and technology then this job is perfect for you. They fly next to power lines to inspect them by cameras attached to the helicopter.
They get paid around $101k
Must get a helicopter pilot license with 2000 hours of flying.
3. Race Engineer
Race Engineers talk to the driver and tells him or her what they can do to achieve maximum performance in a race.
They can get paid around $134k
They need A-levels in math and Physics with a university degree and proven experience.
2. Ethical Hacker (a.k.a Computer Hacker)
They are hired by governments and security firms to help design ways to keep hackers out of their systems.
They can get paid around $140k
Hold a relevant qualification and meet the additional requirements of The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) check scheme.
1. Unexploded Ordnance Technician
Mitigate the threat of an unexploded object
They get paid around $150k
Professional Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) qualifications are needed to increase in rank
None of these jobs interest me so I will have to keep looking, but I learned some pretty interesting things when I did research for this blog post. I learned that ice cream tasters can get paid as much as $60k to taste ice cream and that you can get paid $32k to dress up as a Disney character. So there are a lot of fun and crazy jobs that sound really easy and you can get paid pretty well “working”.