Coronavirus/COVID-19 Has You & Your Child At Home? Exercise Your Flexibility And Stretch For Freedom

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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.

Continue reading “Coronavirus/COVID-19 Has You & Your Child At Home? Exercise Your Flexibility And Stretch For Freedom”

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?”

Twelve Year Old Bullyied and Called Racial Slurs…But Hey, It’s Socialization!

Bullying 12 Year Old
“So what about socialization?” Most homeschool parents cringe hearing that question and this is an example of the reason why. Those asking the question treat socialization as if it is a one way Yellow Brick Road leading to the Wizard who grants them favor and popularity for the rest of their lives. However, it is far from this scenario. Socialization is a two-way street with positive AND negative stops. What we encounter on the road determines how we often feel about the destination. Try this test. Ask your friends if they are going to their high school reunion? It is not uncommon to hear, “I hated school and the people there so I’d never go back” or something to that effect.
 
This story helps demonstrates one of those major stops along the road, and that is bullying. For Black children, adding in the racial element inflicts scars that are even longer lasting.
 
Homeschool parents are not trying to protect their kids from socialization with others. We are just trying to make sure they only visit the cities of negativity, instead of buying property and settling in for twelve plus years. As Black folks know more than anyone, sometimes you never know how your neighborhood is going to turn out and by the time you want to move as well, it is often too late.

‘I’ve Been Hit, Chased, Thrown Down And Called The N-Word’: 12-Year-Old Speaks Out Against Racism, Bullying

ROCKLIN (CBS13) — A 12-year-old Rocklin boy is speaking out on issues of bullying and racism at his elementary school, CBS13 reports.

Daniel Pocklington addressed the Rocklin school board Wednesday night after his family says a number of incidents were not handled appropriately.

“I want there to be a policy where there’s no hate speech and bullying at Rocklin schools; it’s not fair,” he said.

Daniel bravely took to the podium Wednesday night begging the school board to listen.

“I’m here to talk about what it’s like to be an African American boy in your school. I’ve been hit, chased, thrown down, and called the N-word several times this year.”

cbs131 I’ve Been Hit, Chased, Thrown Down And Called The N Word: 12 Year Old Speaks Out Against Racism, Bullying

“It’s hard for me to find a safe way to go to school and actually feel important. It keeps happening and I don’t feel safe, or that it will get better,” he said.

Daniel was adopted at birth and now at 12, he’s a fifth-grader at Rock Creek Elementary. His family says he gets good grades, is part of student council and on the school’s cross country track team. But his school life has been tough.

“Someone just left a note on my desk again with the N-word. And it makes me think, why does this keep happening to me, like what have I done to people to make them do this to me?” said Daniel.

He says on a number of occasions he’s been bullied, thrown down, kicked and called racial slurs.

“It felt really bad, it felt like you got shot right through the heart. It felt like you didn’t mean anything in the world,” he said.

“He said ‘This is what life is gonna be for me, Mom, and I can’t accept that,’” said Daniel’s mother Adrien Pocklington.

Pocklington says she’s tried speaking with the district and the school’s principal.

“He said he was handling it, that they were doing one-day in-school suspension and I said ‘that’s not enough, that’s not teaching my child that he matters and that the school isn’t gonna tolerate it,’” said Pocklington.

Daniel says he speaking up because it hurts more to hold it in and he knows there are other students feeling the same way but too afraid to speak up.

“I feel like my friends deserve a better way to go to school and feel safe,” he said.

And that strength earned him a standing ovation Wednesday night at the school board meeting.

“They’re not being held accountable, if your punishment isn’t working, change your punishment. If we don’t start now they’re not gonna have the confidence or strength to stand up for themselves,” said Daniels mother.

The Rocklin school district released this statement:

We are aware of instances regarding offensive behavior at one of our elementary schools. Each allegation was addressed immediately with an investigation and appropriate disciplinary actions taken when appropriate. Following the final instance, the principal met that day with all 5th grade students to speak seriously about a variety of related topics including tolerance and acceptance. The Rocklin Unified School District is a place where we build people up and celebrate each other, and embrace our diversity. We will continue to work together with all our families, students and staff to reach that aim.

Our World History Book for 2016: When We Ruled by Robin Walker – Part One

First of all, let me thank one of our followers on Facebook over in the U.K. for the recommendation to review When We Ruled by Robin Walker. I certainly hope to hear more from them as they have some great insight on homeschooling in another country!

Now, how many textbooks have you had during your school career that really changed your life? Let me tell you, When We Ruled has the power to not only change your kid’s life, but your life as well as the reader and teacher. As a college graduate, I know more about Greek Mythology, European History, non-African languages, overall more about so many other groups than my own! If knowledge was an identity test, I honestly could not call myself an African-American. But Robin Walker’s work is definitely upping my knowledge game.

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So far, this book is a true textbook with over 700-pages of not just text, but photos, maps, and notes as well. When I found out that he also put together a  When We Ruled Study Guide and Reading Plan, that put the icing on the cake and makes it a must have in the curriculum of a homeschooled child. Dare I say any homeschooled child, regardless of ethnicity? If science has admitted that all life originated from Africa, then why would this work be excluded? Sadly, because it is about Africa (and not fitting into the usual narrative of spear-chucking and half-naked people) and has a so-called Black author, I’m sure it would be dismissed by many and that is a sad shame.

As you can see below, the study guide assigns a certain number of pages each day along with Test Yourself Questions, to bring out the main points of each chapter. I love how Walker uses study techniques like re-reading a chapter, having students study the picture and the caption, and will even ask a question forcing the reader to understand how certain positions stand or get refuted in modern history.

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Now this is just part one of a series of posts we plan to do on When We Ruled. I have discovered quite a few different ways to apply the historical lessons from this book into bible and science as well. Therefore, the knowledge gets applied and reinforced, you know, the same way it is in traditional school when you learn that the Greeks and the Romans perfected language,  knowledge, teaching, philosophy, medicine, fitness, the heavenly bodies, the days of the week, religion, and the list goes on and on!

But Robin Walker forces us to ask, “was what I learned in school correct?”

And that brings me to my last point. I have read some that question the history that Robin Walker outlines. Of course, I think all things should be tested and if false, rejected regardless of the source. However, much of the criticism that I have read thus far are similar to other arguments that I have heard made about African history which basically say, “there is no way African people could have been that smart”.

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In The Roots of Nubian Christianity Uncovered, Salim Faraji speaks of the scholarly work done in the early 1900’s that debunked the narrative about Africa and the people and the racism they faced as other scholars would not accept their views (so much for the Ivory Tower being so liberal right?) William Leo Hansberry was the first academician in the United States to teach courses on African history in the 1920s, but was told by one of his mentors that, “I do not believe that Negroes founded these great civilizations. You are a brilliant student Hansberry, but you are a product of our civilization”. (The Roots of Nubian Christianity Uncovered, pg. 25)

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William Leo Hansberry – Photo source: Blackpast.org

My point? All of our lives we have been taught to never question what the Dominant Society tells us about ourselves, no matter how racist their worldview, but we will doubt knowledge from those who have no ax to grind. Or put another way, why do we always think someone else’s ice is colder?

If you are interested in any of the books mentioned in this article, click on any of the images below.

                   

The College Writing Series: How to Pick Great Evidence For Your Essays

A few weeks ago, I started the first true series of Teach Them Right, called The College Writing Series. My first post for the series gave a very brief overview of the format I will be using (CEA – Claim, Evidence, Analysis), and what to expect in future posts.

Now on my second post of this series, I would like to touch on the first step of writing a college-level essay in CEA format, picking evidence for your paragraph. By picking your evidence before doing anything else, you are able to form your argument based off of the evidence instead of picking evidence that fits your argument.

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Can You Really Afford To Homeschool, Or Can You NOT Afford To Homeschool?

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Over the last 12+ years that my wife and I have homeschooled, we’ve heard quite a few reasons why people do not homeschool that say they would like to do so. I have found that after asking questions and working through solutions to their barriers of entry, affordability is hardly ever the real issue. Let us look at the commonly held belief that you have to make “good money”, in order to be able to homeschool your children.

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7 Rules to Writing in College

As the summer starts to wind down and supermarkets start their “Back to School” sales, that can only mean one thing… the start of a new school year.

Maybe you have a high schooler that you’re going to homeschool, and you’d like to prepare them for college. One of the biggest things that I had to learn is that high school writing is not the same as college writing. Usually, freshmen get slapped in the face because the same essays that were earning “A’s” in high school start to be labelled as “not really there yet” in college.

Here are a few rules that you can start using in your teaching to help your student prepare for college:

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Standardized Testing: Pros and Cons

One question that most homeschoolers face is whether or not to test their student. Standardized testing can have its benefits and its drawbacks, but the decision is often based on the learning style of the student. For some students, taking a test can determine where the knowledge of the student is and therefore help to focus on weaknesses later on. For other students, however, taking a standardized test will not capture their whole knowledge, such as those with dyslexia.

So here are the pros and cons to standardized testing, based on my own experiences. I’ll let you be the judge on what the right decision is, whether or not to homeschool.

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Exercise Your Flexibility And Stretch For Freedom

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Summer is half way over and perhaps you are still in the investigative phase as you contemplate whether to homeschool or not. In the future, we will discuss the challenges and discussions that often go on between parents, but today, let me ask you to be rather introspective.

Are YOU really ready to homeschool your child?

Is YOUR life set up to teach your child?

Sorry, today, I have no interest in talking about whether you think your kid can handle it or whether your school system will allow you to bring your child home. 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 20 years, I made time to exercise. That meant training at 4am, 5pm (which is absolutely the worst time to train in any gym) and 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 for the 2016-2107 school term.

First, start with how you can exercise your freedom at work.

Continue reading “Exercise Your Flexibility And Stretch For Freedom”