Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Carnival of Homeschooling - Introduction to programming concepts

I've been writing code for most of my career.  I've written in a variety of programming languages.  For most of the last fifteen years I wrote in Java.  Recently I've been using Python.  While each languages has its unique features, most languages share some basic, common concepts.

In this carnival I'll tie in various programming concepts to the posts.  I hope you enjoy it.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Looping

Often a program will try to do some simple task hundreds, or thousands, or even millions of times.  The loop might be for a fixed number of times, or run until some condition is met, or even just run as long as the computer is up.  Sometimes homeschooling seems a bit like an endless loop.  On the down side we may feel like we are in a Groundhog Day.  The upside is as we repeat a task several times the net effect can be a deeper understanding of the material.

In Ancient Egypt CT sharing how they are having fun learning about Egypt as they start over with Volume 1 of the Story of the World.  Posted at Petticoat Government.

Even in a simple loop the work can be a little different.  Carol writes about 20+ years of family read aloud chapter books and shares her growing list of chapter books.  Posted at journey-and-destination.


Mental Models

Both when a programmer comes up with a design and as he writes the code, he has a mental model of it should all work.  Many bugs have occurred because the mental model is different that the actual code.  We can spend hours trying to understand why the code is not doing what we expect.

Skeletons and Pilgrims! is about how to make a bone model and explore skeletons.  Posted at Solagratiamom.

I don't GET designer purses, and I don't GET boxed curriculum either is about recognizing what is your own mental model about what is important to you.  Posted at Notes From A Homeschooled Mom.

Unfortunately other people can have flawed mental models about homeschooling.  Barbara Frank writes one flawed mental model in When Bias Against Homeschooling Results in Job Loss.  Posted at Barbara Frank Online.


Basic Practices

There are some basic practices which make it easier to write good code.  One important one is to spend time on the design before jumping in and writing code.  Another good practice is to comment the code which both forces the programmer to really think about what the code is doing and makes it much easier for others to modify or improve.

Annie Kate shares some of her best practices in 6 Tips for a Successful School Year.  Posted at Tea Time with Annie Kate.

A good approach to programming is to break tasks up into small components and write a few lines of code for each task. Sometimes a programmer can feel he is directly millions of little ants.  In Ants - Outdoor Hour Challenge  shares their study of ants by using using the Handbook of Nature Study and the Outdoor Hour Challenge website.  Posted at Harvest Moon by Hand.

An important part of programming is understanding the end goal.  Why are you doing what you are doing?   Susan answers the question Why Do We Homeschool?  Homeschooling can be scary and challenging - so why do it?  Check out Susan's answer, posted at Susan Raber Online.


Bugs

Normally the hardest part of being a programmer isn't writing the code.  It is finding and fixing bugs.  Often more money is spent debugging code than in writing it in the first place.

Karen writes about some of the problems with homeschooling in A Very Damaging List Against Homeschooling.  Posted at My Own Mind.

Many parents turn to homeschooling because of problems with public schools.  Jamie writes about The ADD/ADHD Epidemic.  Posted at MomSCHOOL.


Optimization

Once a program starts running, the next step may be to get it to run fast, or run using less memory, or less bandwidth.  Good code development includes balancing the multiple demands for resources, which is also a topic of economics.

From Germany we have a post of Teaching Kids the Basics of Economics which reviews a book designed to teach math, but ends up doing a good job at teaching economics.  Posted at Highhill Homeschool.

An important part of programming is knowing what doesn't have to be optimized.  It probably doesn't make sense to spend six months to speed up ten lines of code that will get used only once and save a small fraction of a second.  Likewise homeschoolers need to know what is important to optimize and what is fine just to leave alone.  A Little Classical Unschooling is about Cristina's recent experience with her daughter as they review changing how they homeschool.  Posted at Home Spun Juggling.


Having fun

Sometimes programming can be a ton of fun.  Whether it is writing some clean code, or writing a game, it can be a great feeling to master a problem.

Christy has fun in sharing Lesson ideas using Superman comics.  She writes about how Superman makes a great theme for learning history, philosophy and language arts skills.  Posted at Christy's Houseful of Chaos.

After most major releases of software there will be some kind of celebration.  Mama Squirrel ends Homeschooling and the walls of Jerusalem with "More to plan the party and blow the horns."  Posted at Dewey's Treehouse.

Programming is not for everyone.  And likewise Math is not for everyone.  Denise has a fun post in Quotable: I Do Hate Sums.  Posted at Let's Play Math!




If you have enjoyed this carnival, please spread the word. Please mention the carnival on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other appropriate places. You can also help promote the carnival by adding the carnival images. Learn how by going here.

Go here for the archives of previous carnivals.

Next week the carnival will be held at Petticoat Government.

If you are interested in submitting a post for a future carnival, click here for information.

We thank everyone who has helped out. Thank you to all the participants in this carnival. And thanks to all those who help promote the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Friday, September 12, 2014

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at our blog Why Homeschool.

This will be the 455th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Songs Stuck in my Head

Cristina is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Home Spun Juggling.

She starts the carnival with:

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Ever get a song lyric stuck in your head? That is my life. Songs spin around my brain like a soundtrack accompanying my life. Situations are set to music, or a song springs unbidden to mind and stays there until I stop and listen or look up the lyrics to figure out why my subconscious wants me to hear this right now. I always learn something from the experience. And so I invite you to join me for a lyric-inspired  
Carnival of Homeschooling: 
Songs Stuck in my Head edition!
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Enjoy!


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, September 08, 2014

The PEPSI reasons for homeschooling

In a high school history class I had a teacher say that when trying to understand why people did things, one framework to use was PEPSI which stood for Philosophical, Economic, Psychological, Social and Ideological.  Often people are motivated by one or more of these.

Here are the PEPSI reasons we homeschool:

Philosophical:  We believe that the primary responsibility of educating our children lies with us.  Since public schools are doing such a poor job this alone would be enough of a reason to homeschool our children.

Economic:  Homeschooling is an inexpensive way to get a quality education.  The quality of American public schools has declined over the last several decades.  There are still a few pockets of good public schools but they tend to be in expensive neighborhoods.  So if you want your child in a good public school you often have to buy an expensive house.  Another option is to send your child to a private school.  Around where we live they have private schools ranging for $10,000 a year to as much as $40,000 a year.  Homeschooling is much cheaper.

Psychological: We are very distrustful of our government.  There are many groups with agendas the push into the government school curriculum.  Some of these world views are harmful.  When children go off to government schools you have very little influence in what they are taught.

Social: One of the few remaining concerns people voice about homeschooling is "What about socialization?"  This is one of our main reasons to homeschool.  Public schools are a horrible place for children to learn appropriate, mature responses to social situations.  Too often thirty students with a teacher is more of a Lord of a the Flies situation than a setting for learning adult responses for social interaction.

Ideological: In some ways this brings us back to where we started.  We believe that God will hold us accountable for how our children are educated.  We want to make sure our children are well taught, in all areas that they need, academic, social, their own character and so on.

So there you have it, these are the PEPSI reasons for homeschooling!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at:  Home Spun Juggling

This will be the 454th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

Thursday, September 04, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Ages and Stages Edition

Jamie is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at momSCHOOL.

She starts the carnival with:

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These are the magic years…everything is new and exciting. Making the most of creativity and firsts… it’s an amazing part of life that is the foundation for lifelong learning.

Introducing our youngest children to learning in a way that is fun and exciting gives them a beginning we will never regret.
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Enjoy!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, September 01, 2014

Public school would have ruined another kid

Years ago my wife wrote about how School would have ruined that kid!  The main point was that our older two daughters were very late readers and such late readers don't typically do very well in public schools.  I followed up a little later that our late readers were turning out fine and had developed a love for reading.

Our son has even more pronounced issues.  At seven-years-old he struggles to talk, and is only getting the basics of reading down.  In a public school he would be in second grade and be given a number of labels, like late reader, slow, challenged and so on.

Since we homeschool we are able to let him go at his pace.

Recently on Storynory he has been listening to stories about a young girl who becomes a professional singer.  Today he spent over an hour writing out songs.  You have to be a bit of a detective to figure out the words, and sometimes I have to ask.  Very few of the words are spelled correctly, but I've noticed an improvement over the last month.  If he were attending any of the local public elementary schools I'm afraid he would have become self conscious and stopped trying to write.

Later today he spent another hour in our living room building a fortress out of chairs, carpets, blankets and so on.

My son is working hard and is making progress.  I think by the time he is twenty he will be caught up with his peers and will do just fine in life.  I don't know where he will end up, but it will be fun to see.

I am so glad we homeschool, that we can help him according to his needs.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at:  momSCHOOL.

This will be the 453rd edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The price of freedom

I like this thought from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

                Responsibility is the price of freedom.
                                   -Elbert Hubbard

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The back to school edition

Gary is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at HomeschoolBuzz.com.

He starts the carnival with:

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Here at the Davis home, we are busy planning our school year after a nice summer break from routine. We know you are all busy too but a few homeschoolers took the time to send us a post for the carnival.
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Enjoy!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, August 25, 2014

What do you value?

I recently had a conversation about school/homeschooling with a friend who is very involved in the local school district and who plans to send her children to the neighborhood school.

I realized that we valued many, if not all, the same things.  The difference was in how we prioritized that list.


I value time with family over what I would call a “need for affiliation” with friends.   Yes, my children have friends and we do value those friendships, but less than the relationships with members of our own family.

I value the academic success of my children over the academic performance of the children in my community.   In our family, sometimes one child’s needs do take precedence over another child’s needs for a season, but I don’t expect any of my children to perpetually work below his/her capacity for the benefit of another child.

I value my children’s moral and character development over academic achievements.

I value the control over my children's education more than my "alone" time.  I value my "alone" time quite a bit



I value teaching respect for my country over political correctness.  (I don’t value politically correctness at all.)  I do value good manners.

The next time you discuss education with a friend in the public school system, remember that you probably do value the same things, just in a different order of priorities.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at:  HomeschoolBuzz.com

This will be the 452nd edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Homeschool Lives, Homeschool Places

Janice is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Janice Campbell - making time for things that matter.

She starts the carnival with:

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Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile may be startled to see a completely new look. I’ve been wanting to do a little housekeeping for awhile– the previous theme has been up since 2007 or so, and was getting a bit long in the tooth. I was finally pushed into the update by suddenly having the blog lock up and refuse to let me log in for a week or two.

My son was able to fix it (hurrah for homeschooled software developers who still take time to fix mom’s website when there’s a desperate need!), but the theme was apparently part of the problem, so it had to go. The current theme isn’t the final design, but I’m hoping that will be up soon.
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Enjoy!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at: Janice Campbell 

This will be the 451st edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Friday, August 15, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Karen is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at My Own Mind.

She starts the carnival with:

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Are you thinking about homeschooling this fall? This is the time of year when many families begin thinking about whether they want to reenter the local elementary school and get a bit skeptical about all that goes on there.

If you are already homeschooling, this is the time of year when we marvel at the YAY, Kids Are Back in School posts because we are thrilled to not be back in school. We are thrilled to have the parks and attractions to ourselves. We are ready to see the change of season with our children. 

In this, the 450th Edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling, let's look at the experience of Starting Fresh. 

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Enjoy!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

I love this time of year.

I really enjoy this time of year, when I make plans for the upcoming school year.  I take a little time to research some of the curriculum options like math, history, grammar, handwriting and so forth and plan out our year for both our homeschool and our homeschool co-op.

This is also when I start signing up for the outside classes and activities like theater, gymnastics, tae kwon do, and so forth.

We never really stick exactly with the schedule, but it is fun to plan anyway.  It is exciting to find materials that "match" the learning styles of my children.  There is a certain amount of trial and error, but it neat when you find just the right thing that "clicks" with you and your child.

I'm trying a new math program this year with seven-year-old son but I'm pulling out the History program that I used with our oldest two daughters years ago.  It is fun to sort my shelves and make everything look nice even though It doesn't stay that way long.

Our fourteen-old-year daughter is at the easy stage where she does most of her work on her own with a little follow up on my part thanks to wonderful online resources like Khan Academy.

And it is really nice when school starts.  All of a sudden there are no lines or crowds for the places we want to go because most children are back at school. [Though I admit that I hate school field trips.  There is nothing worse than a school bus full of kids with only a handful of adults to ruin a museum or park experience for the reset of us.]

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Please remember to send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, which will be held at: On My Mind.

This will be the 450th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Thursday, August 07, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Wordless Wednesday

Heather is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Sprittibee.

She starts the carnival with:

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Welcome to the Wordless Wednesday (oops) Edition of the (normally on a Tuesday) Carnival of Homeschooling! If you are new to ‘blog carnivals’, please read the link at the bottom of this post to find out more. This post has many links that take you off-site to other homeschool blogs where you can read their ‘showcased’ article submission.

If you would like to submit an article for a future carnival or host the carnival on your site, please see the bottom section to find out how. Each carnival writer has the option to put their compilation to a ‘theme’ if they so choose. Being a little absorbed with our crazy life lately, I just couldn’t get it together yesterday when it was due… so Wordless Wednesday it is! Of course, the people who submitted links are not just sending in Wordless Wednesday submissions – they are actual homeschooling posts for the most part. I’m really OK with letting THEM do the talking (I went to bed at 5am last night with a severe case of insomnia).
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Carnival of Homeschooling

Jason Fried makes some good points in Why Work doesn't happen at work

I don't agree with everything Jason says, but Jason Fried does make some good points in his TED talk on Why work doesn't happen at work:


Paul Gram makes many of the same points in Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Another good thought from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, 
they don't have to worry about the answers.
-Thomas Pynchon,
writer (b. 1937)

Monday, August 04, 2014

You should marry one of those Cate girls!

I had a fun conversation today with a mother who is very interested in homeschooling. I love to talk about homeschooling.  We are beginning our 15th year of homeschooling and I have acquired quite a few fun experiences along the way which I love to share.

Some of these you can read about here.

Since we have been at this so long, sometimes I forget what it felt like at the beginning to step out of the mainstream educational system into the great unknown.  I think many parents are not happy with the public educational system, but they choose the devil they know over the unfamiliar world of homeschooling.

Many times I think parents are absurdly concerned with grades and miss the more important things like actual mastering of useful skills.  For example, will their children be able to balance a checkbook, live on a budget, hold a job, express themselves coherently and read through the lines of a deceptive political flier that will show up in their mail box one day?


These days I am feeling pretty secure in our choice to homeschool because our children are turning out so well.  Our older daughters did very well in college academics and are otherwise successful in life.  Our younger children are on the same path and doing well.  (I was going to list their accomplishments but decided that would be bragging.)   But I will share something that happened last year which gives me great satisfaction as a parent and homeschooler.

I had hired a friend's mother-in-law to babysit while Henry and I went out for the evening.  We hired her because we had a very challenging foster child at the time and we didn't want to place all the responsibility on our teenagers while we were gone.  The babysitter left us a beautiful note describing how our girls had really handled everything, that in her years as a teacher she had not seen better child management skills and that she felt bad taking our money.  While this made me feel like a successful parent, it was what happened next which I found the greater compliment.

After returning home, our babysitter sat down with her grandson and very earnestly told him, "You should marry one of those Cate girls."



I'm prouder of that than their college (3.95 and 4.0) GPAs.




Knowledge and enthusiasm

I like this thought from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Knowledge is power and enthusiasm pulls the switch.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

A good point about how to be effective

Greg McKeown makes a good point in The Simplest Way to Avoid Wasting Time.

Basically he writes that we need to step back and focus on doing a few things really well rather than try to do lots of things.

It is about a two minute read.  Worth spending the time.

Interesting observation on why the New York Times is having trouble

I found WHY THE NEW YORK TIMES IS IN TROUBLE fascinating.

It starts with:

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The New York Times appointed a task force headed by “Pinch” Sulzberger’s son to analyze the paper’s market position and recommend strategies relating particularly to its digital products. The resulting report was leaked and has gotten a lot of press attention. You can read it here. Most observers have focused on the report’s relatively negative assessment of the Times’s market position; no doubt it is galling to the Times to be surpassed by schlock outfits like the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.

But this is what struck me: on page 23 of the report, there are charts showing the paper’s internet traffic. The Times currently gets around 6 million page views per day. That is a lot, to be sure. But Power Line averages over 200,000 page views per day. On a big news day, we may get more than 500,000. So day in and day out, the New York Times gets around 30 times the traffic that we do.

No wonder the Times has trouble finding a viable business model! We are four guys running a web site in our spare time. We have no expenses other than hosting fees of around $1,000 a month. We have no payroll and no advertising expenses. And yet the vast, expensive apparatus of the nation’s supposedly premier newspaper can muster only 30 times our traffic.
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Hat tip:  Instapundit