Picking Up Where The School Left Off – Teaching The Kids At Home During COVID-19

My daughter decides to play teacher to her siblings during one of our museum visits

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…

Strong Minds

Strong Body

Strong Family

Cool Pappa

So How Will Your Children Learn With School Closing Due To COVID-19 AKA Coronavirus?

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.

Continue reading “So How Will Your Children Learn With School Closing Due To COVID-19 AKA Coronavirus?”

Galatians Quick Study – TTR Analysis

For the Bible study portion of my curriculum, I have my kids perform a book by book analysis. I tend to follow an expository style in our family Bible studies, and want them to do the same and not focus on just popular topics. Sadly, most churches tend to stay topical in their content and most Christians never really learn what the Bible truly says. Therefore, many still feel Adam and Eve bit the apple, Jonah was swallowed by the whale, and “God helps those who helps themselves.”

Our journey originally started with the shortest books of the bible. Each week, the kids would study a different book. When they let me know it was just too much for them to tackle in one week, we moved to two weeks, which is where we currently are at the moment. Asking them to build a presentation is just another way to reinforce what they have learned and see connections with other books they have already studied. As a side benefit, numerous Sunday’s they have actually added to what the sermon was about in church with what they have studied themselves.

The last thing I want to raise are warriors that leave their brains in the car when they walk inside the church. We are to always be thinking critically about what anyone in the pulpit (or anywhere for that matter) is saying.

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” – Acts 17:11

“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,…” – 1 Peter 3:15

Enjoy this short presentation on the book of GALATIANS created by fifteen year old Joshua.

The Four Quadrants Of Arizona – TTR Video Analysis

The Four Quadrants Of Arizona – TTR Analysis
In my homeschool, I have my kids analyze geographic regions and split the states (or other geographic regions) into four areas to analyze. Take a tour with us to look at some unique Arizona cities in this presentation Joshua (Big Homie) put together.

TeachThemRight About Geography: Arizona’s Top 5 Industries By Employment

A new contribution by another “student”. Big Homie (my 12-year-old son) contributes the following post looking at Labor in the state of Arizona.*

I’d like to show a chart of the top five industries in 2014.

joshuas-chart

Yes, the government was on Arizona’s top five employers in Arizona. We will later see if other states are similar. This chart shows how many employees are paid by:

1: Trade, transportation, and utilities: 494,000

2: Government: 411,300

3: Professional and business services: 390,700

4: Leisure and hospitality: 290,800

5: Financial activity: 195,300

However, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is still Arizona’s biggest employer, followed by Banner Health, a healthcare company, and grocery chains Kroger Company. I know what you’re thinking “so why is not Wal-Mart on this list”? This is because Wal-Mart is technically a business, not an industry.

By: Big Homie

arizona-sign

* Remember your old boring Geography class in school? Did you ever wonder whether it really mattered if you knew exactly where various states were located in the United States? Really, you were not even able to drive yet and what if you never planned on even visiting those states when you got older? Well, I’ve noticed the fruits of this mentality in adults over the years, so this year I wanted to try something different with the Tribe. 

Now in full disclosure, Lil Pappa (my dad) would take the fam across the country to California and one of my favorite activities (besides counting BJ Trucks…but more on that another day) was following along in the atlas, and observing the topography and demographics in each state. 

Therefore, we are combining Geography with a bit of Sociology. We are choosing various states and besides just asking questions like, “what are the main tourist attractions in the state?”, they are making a short analysis of each state within Neely Fuller’s Nine Areas of People Activity paradigm: 

1. Economics
2. Education
3. Entertainment
4. Labor
5. Law
6. Politics
7. Religion
8. Sex
9. War/Counter-War

TeachThemRight About Geography (#8): “Interracial” Marriages In Arizona?*

 

IR_TTR_collage(logo).png
If the images of these couples conjure up memories or images in your mind, you (like me) show the power of media images and indicates the power of optics in influencing our mate selection

When people think of the state of Arizona in relation to people groups, marriage, and relationships, the “Luke and Laura” white ideal couple tends to not come to the forefront of the mind as fast as it may when you think of other states.

But what does the data say and why does it matter?

Well, according to Tallese D. Johnson and Rose M. Kreider of the U.S. Census Bureau, the data gives us insight into, “factors affecting the residence patterns…

1. Opportunity for potential spouses to meet: in areas where there are few Asians, for example, we would expect to see fewer White / Asian intermarried households (Harris & Ono 2004).

2. Historic patterns of residence/migration patterns: for example, the removal of many American Indian tribes from their original lands to reservation lands; historically higher proportions of Hispanics living in the Southwest; historically higher proportions of Asians living in the West. 

3. Characteristics of the current population that are typical of those who are more likely to intermarry: for example, individuals with higher educational attainment are more likely to intermarry so one might expect that areas with higher educational levels might have more intermarried couple households (Qian & Lichter 2007; Fryer 2007).”

Therefore, having some insight into the marriage patterns of various people groups in a state tells us much about the state’s history, gives insight into present demographics and may aid in forecasting future policy and patterns. To be blunt, “race” is in the DNA of America. There is nothing that happens in the areas of human activity that are not forged through a racial template, hence why it is my responsibility to mold that template as a homeschooling parent, and not leave that up to society.

Anyone know how that has turned out recently?

Now first, a few ground rules. I do not teach my children to categorize people by race. Any uses of such categories are for the reader and to stay true to the categories used by a particular source. We follow Acts 17:24-26:

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,c 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”.

Second, I am under no illusion, as many in the world are, that “interracial relationships signal some kind of racial progress. See the blog Black Women of Brazil for a look at how interracial relationships are used as a tool in a nation that is considered “post-racial” and a true “melting pot”. Some may even feel that this is where the United States is heading by design.

Notice I did not say, “all because two people fell in love”…(I’ve seen that sign somewhere before). Love does have a color, and it is the government that determines whether “that color” is acceptable or not for marriage. In Arizona, the government felt it was not acceptable until a court decision just days before 1960 when Henry Oyama of Japanese descent wanted to marry Mary Ann Jordan, who was “white”. The irony in the story is that Oyama passed for being of Mexican descent, which is a major variable in determining who is allowed to marry outside of their race and spent over a year in an internment camp.

I said, “Internment camp”, that alone takes us down another unique path while studying Arizona that I’ll save for later.

That said, as you will see below, it is also ironic that Arizona is one of the leading states in “white” and “Asian” interracial marriages today.

But I digress…now I do agree that at least having interaction between people groups, is a positive sign and at least creates hope that those involved will have their prejudices challenged and conquered. However, history shows this is often not the case (obviously The South especially during The Nadir era is an excellent example), and I teach my children to look for various markers on why they may be making a particular choice for a spouse, especially one outside of their people group.

For example:

  • What is their theological and biblical view of “race”?
  • Do you view this person as superior to you? For example, are you saying, “I think white men will treat me better than black men because black men are…”
  • How do you view yourself, especially in relation to this person? For example, “I think I will have pretty kids with them because they have good hair and I don’t want my kids to have hair like me.”
  • How does this person view you and your racial views?
  • Does a person outside your people group use the word “nigga”? Do they use the excuse that they can relate to you, they listen to hip-hop, or “sometimes people just act this way and I can’t help it?”
  • How does their family view you?
  • Why is this person attracted to you? Do they make statements like, “I only like black men/women or ‘light-skinned’ men/women?”
  • Do they change their behavior when around their own people group, then act another way around you like Peter in Galatians?
  • Do they say, “When I look at you, I don’t see color”?

Trust me, those are just a few of the questions and scenarios we have discussed, but I hope you get the idea and you may have some similar thoughts for your particular people group as well.

Now let us look at the numbers. Overall, the newlywed data from 2008-2010 does show that more interracial marriages do exist out west.

ir-marriage-regional-breakdownlogo

 

What does this say about all of those “liberals” in the Northeast? Perhaps when it comes to choosing a spouse, they are just like most Americans.  But as we begin to study other states in the future, we might find that they inter-marry for a different reason such as education level over residential patterns. It certainly seems that interracial marriage is more prevalent out west is due to historical migration/residential patterns and as we study the other eight areas of activity (see below), we are going to find that it varies tremendously (depending on time period) and influences how the country interacts today (e.g. “red” and “blue” political patterns).

ir-marriage-state-breakdownlogo

Among people groups, Arizona ranks highest in marriage between “white” and “Asian” and “white” and “Hispanic” people groups.

“White” and “Hispanic” Marriage:

Arizona – 12%

Nevada – 11%

IR Marriage White_Asian State Breakdown (logo).png

* Remember your old boring Geography class in school? Did you ever wonder whether it really mattered if you knew exactly where various states were located in the United States? Really, you are not even able to drive yet and what if you never planned on even visiting those states when you got older? Well, I’ve noticed the fruits of this mentality in adults over the years, so this year I wanted to try something different with the Tribe. 

Now in full disclosure, Lil Pappa (my dad) would take the fam across the country to California and one of my favorite activities (besides counting BJ Trucks…but more on that another day) was following along in the atlas, and observing the topography and demographics in each state. 

Therefore, we are combining Geography with a bit of Sociology. We are choosing various states and besides just asking questions like, “What are the main tourist attractions in the state?”, they are making a short analysis of each state within Neely Fuller’s Nine Areas of People Activity paradigm: 

1. Economics
2. Education
3. Entertainment
4. Labor
5. Law
6. Politics
7. Religion
8. Sex
9. War/Counter-War

arizona-sign