Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Complete school based homeschool program

Buried in another post, I have written about this before. I would however like to take some time to discuss it in detail as to make it clear what the program would involve if it did exist. Unfortunately I don't believe it does.

What the program is about and how it works
The basics are that an intelligent student who believes he/she would benefit from such program, probably only for the last 2 or so years of high school, will be able to take the material home to complete instead. When the material is completed and studied to what the student finds satisfactory, the student will return to the school for a few days and complete assessment tasks.

As to simulate the student actually attending the school, the curriculum will be exactly the same. Just all material will be outsourced as homework. This is for students who don't believe they need a teacher telling them what they have to learn if the curriculum is given to them.

Students will have to attend school once a week, perhaps a dozen of them on the same program in a designated classroom, to catch up on missed school activities. Such as if their class had watched a movie that was important to the subject or if there was information vital to their success. A staff member, perhaps a year coordinator, will check what they have been studying to ensure they are in the right place and so the student may request assistance if necessary. They might not have to attend for a full day, only a few hours.

So students are still enrolled in the school, and they still learn but intelligently in their own way. It would be just like attending school, but not physically.

Obviously, the most important benefit is time saving. I believe if I were on such program, each term would be completed in a few weeks, not ten. Because of the inefficiency and wasted time during school, the same amount could be done much faster without having to sit in class wasting time. It is not necessarily the schools fault. They can't really make a better system then having 70 minute lessons because sometimes that time is needed. Often it is not in which case it won't be used effectively. Learning at home as an individual obviously does not enforce this time block system.

Secondly, students will greatly exercise time management skills. I believe time management is one key to personal development and as such, being able to train time management at a young age will greatly benefit students on the program.

They will enjoy learning more. Students on this program are on it because they don't like learning at school. Not because they don't like school(well they don't), but because they don't like the ineffective methods used. If they don't like learning at school, they don't like going to school. By not learning at school, they should enjoy it more. I would.

It will increase their out of school social life. At first they might feel deprived of being socially active. They won't have school to rely on to make friends anymore(this is why it should be last few years of high school only). It will just mean they have to go and be social in a way which does not involve school, like they would have in a few years anyway.

Increase free time. Having the unit done so quickly will mean there is a long time before the next one, holidays will each be 2 months in length at least. This will give the student plenty of time to do extra curriculum activities, learn other things, get a job or just use at their leisure.

Not compatible with all classes. This can easily be solved by having the student attend school while those classes are on. Such as, HPE(playing sport, not theory), woodwork and metalwork, and possibly a few other specific classes. Not all students take these classes. I know that my classes could easily be completed at home on this program.

Does not fit in with bus schedule. Students who would have to catch a bus which only leaves at the end of school, and have classes which must be completed at school as mentioned above, would have to remain at school for the entire day. "The intervention room" could come into use, as the student could just remain there to complete what they would have at home, so they wouldn't have to do quite as much at home. Lowers the benefits slightly, but it's no major deal really.

Personally, I would want to do this. I thought of it while I was ranting about school and I can't see any reason why it should not happen. The only thing is, not many students from each school would want to do it. That's not really a problem though, but they would not really bother if just a few were going to do it. I am sure I could do it, particularly if I slept polyphasically.

EDIT - further complications and solutions
I received a comment which pointed out a few flaws with this design, so I would like to work out a solution for them.

So I believe the main point of concern is that at a public school, much is taught orally. This isn't always the case. Not with the school I go to as teachers usually hand out the information they are reading from anyway. However it does happen. I will agree that teachers will often teach orally. Perhaps more so to the students who do not quite understand, such as in maths. Subjects like maths are fairly simple to learn from the textbook. Making use of the given examples and looking at some of the answers usually helps understand the concepts, not just the formulas.

Some other subjects however, given exactly what the students who attended the class normally were given, but without actually attending class may not be sufficient to learn the requirements. The obvious solution to this is give students on this program more resources. Textbooks, Internet(which we all have), and their research skills should be enough.

Some subjects will require the student to actually attend like I already mentioned when I wrote this. Like I also said, just attend those, not the rest. Some students will end up going to school an hour on Monday, 2 hours on Wednesday and maybe a bit longer on Friday. Does not majorly reduce the benefits of this program.

Another issue was that many people are homeschooled because they want to choose what they learn and have their own curriculum. That is true but this is designed for people who are okay with the public high school curriculum and only have a major issue with the wasted time. This ties in with people who are homeschooling for religious reasons. If they aren't okay with the curriculum, it is not for them.

Another flaw I realised is that, unless the education department, and the school both accepted the idea and managed to incorporate it into their system, it unfortunately just wont happen. Too bad, but I still like and support the idea.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wordsearches know how to teach!

Note that the title isn't serious. Wordsearches can also be known as "find-a-words", "word finds", "find words", and so on. The grid puzzle with jumbled words hidden in other letters that you have to find a list of.

Our science teacher favours them. Classifies them as "theory work". It seems the best way she can teach us a list of words related to the subject. If you think about how many wordsearches you have done during school, and how long that would have taken you, that is how long you have wasted. Wordsearches are probably the best example of busywork. Especially when given as homework.

So we finished our science experiment, wasn't too exciting and didn't teach much but that is another story, then she decided to give us a wordsearch to keep us busy. COUGHBUSYWORKCOUGH. That exactly defines busywork. Then she decided we had to have it finished to go to lunch not that she really checked, I just find that hilarious. "You must complete all busywork before I can let you go." What a laugh hey.

You learn nothing from wordsearches, they pass time slightly, they are only because you have a substitute teacher or the teacher failed to give you material which actually had meaning, and you could be doing more worthwhile tasks instead.

Do you see why I don't like school? Things like these are very common. Most poeple seem to take it, they just live with it and tell me that if its easy it shouldn't take long. If it is easy and pointless, why bother?

I have just recently closely observed how so many people of authority at the school seem blind to the presence of pointless activities, busywork. Wordsearches, crosswords, fill in the blanks, random comprehension activities which I could have done in grade 4 and so on.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Left hand training update

So It hasn't been long since I started using my left hand but I do have more information to add since then.

As for progress, probably not much. I can write a bit better, brush my teeth good enough, and even straighten my hair without burning myself. Though it has not been long, and constantly doing these activities with my left hand will eventually lead to much more control, and will make me a more powerful being or so I would hope(hehe). Though it is very easy to forget to use the left hand, so I continually use my right hand without thinking.

Perhaps I should start lifting a fairly light weight, 5kg perhaps, with my left arm only as to build it up a bit to be equal in strength to the right arm. Accuracy is the harder part(writing, throwing objects, completing one handed tasks and such with the left hand).

Response to all new comments

It is supposed to send me out an email when I receive a comment but it never has. I fixed that though so I should know from now on and I will try to comment you back if necessary. Sorry to anyone who has commented previously that I have "ignored" because of not realising I had received it.

It's good that most people are right handed

It's good that most people are right handed

Apparently being right handed is caused by the left side of the brain being dominant. So, what would happen if neither side were dominant? We would probably develop a preference naturally for one hand. Half the people would go with left, half with right. Or even if it was a 50 50 chance that your right side of the brain was dominant in the first place, making half the people left handed from the start.

It's true that most things are designed for right handed people. Left handed people can learn to use them well, and won't have any problems. If it was half and half, there would be much more conflict about standards. A left handed and right handed model would have to be created for most things.

Because the number of left handed people is small compared to right handed people, left handed people just accept right hand made things. Obviously it is not always any more difficult to use them, but imagine now if most people were left handed. Would the clock go around the other way? The hot and cold tap? Would we read from right to left? Reading from right to left might sound silly right now but unless there is another logical explanation for that I'm sure it would have been possible if most people were left handed.

So what if it was half and half? It would cause problems from left handed people wanting it one way and right the other. We're not just talking about in a well civilised time like now, I mean from the start. I highly doubt we would be advanced as we are today.

But because right handed people have been the majority, left handed people have been brought up with the way right handed people saw best. Now a lot of left handed people can use their right hand better than right handed people can use their left hand, so in a way left handed people are advantaged.

The main point is that if it were half and half it would not be as easy to advance as humans.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Train the left hand to become similiar to the right hand

Why do you and why do I want to train my left hand to become nearly as efficient as the right?
If you were able to use both your hands equally, or as close as you can for everything, you would be far more efficient in general. Imagine it as this, Your left hand(or right if you are left handed) is half as good as your right. Not exactly, but that seems fair enough to base it on. So your right hand will be 100% and your left hand will be 50%. So overall 75% effective. If you managed to train your left hand, obviously not as good as your right, it may end up 80% instead of 50%. That would make a 90% overall instead of 75%. Obviously not exactly as that is just an estimate, but still shows the point.

Plus, to add to that, your right hand will be better assisted by the left, increasing productivity even more. So your right hand will do better just by having your left hand doing better so your right hand will be less taxed by everyday activities meaning it will have less to do. That would mean your right hand will exceed the 100% you had before, possibly even to 110% of what you had. Isn't it a great feeling, exceeding 100%.

Pretty much you would just have more control.

So, why exactly did I want to start using my left hand?
There are times during school where you would randomly start to write with your opposite hand. No reason really, you just wanted to see how well you could do. That happened today. At first it was barely readable but then it got a little better as I slowed down and better gripped the pen. Just within the last hour, I google searched the possibility to learn with the left hand and I discovered that others had done this to varying levels of success.

Now, it is possible to train the left hand, but the right hand is because most peoples left side of the brain is dominant. For some reason, the right hand is linked with the left side of the brain and the left with right. This means the left side of my body will never be as strong as the right. Limited not only to hands but legs are another good example.

So from now, I will start doing a lot of things with my left hand that I would generally have done with the right. Varied examples include washing myself with the sponge being equipped in the left hand, opening doors, turning on taps, holding things in general and so on. Of course, writing, one of the hardest things with the off hand but definitely worth doing to train fine motor skills. Wherever appropriate I will try to use my left hand instead of the right hand.

We will see how this goes, if it is possible for my left hand to become stronger. Others have done it, let's see if I can.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Even more about busywork

Believe it or not, I managed to think of more I can write about busywork.

When you were at school, did you have to copy information off a board or projector and into a book? Probably, some teachers see it as the number 1 way to teach. It is generally a boring activity which involves writing out someone Else's work, a bit of time, and can often take longer as you have to wait for others to catch up or for the teacher to finish writing on the board.

Why is this done? It is so easy to photocopy or just print out multiple sheets of information, printed neatly rather than written or scribbled down on a lined piece of paper in an exercise book. This would make it simple for students to read and understand.

Students do not absorb information while they write out. Unless somewhat entertaining or interesting, students will not pay much attention to what they are writing, just copy. Also, because writing out is slower than just reading, it will longer to work out the meaning and to make anything of it. Rereading the writing after that, often going around the room with students reading out loud(which is also pointless, unless students are being graded on their reading ability), must happen to understand.

Once, not too long ago, in science we were forced to copy down something like 7 projector slides of information about aquaculture. That took up many pages in my book, and no one in the class made much of it. It was just do this or come back at lunch and do it. It also looked like it was just copied off the Internet, probably Wikipedia, but the teacher claimed she wrote it. We were then forced to read it out loud going around the room with different students reading each paragraph. There was enough that we read at least 3 times each. As the writing was uninteresting and my science class is mostly people who aren't so into school, we still did not absorb any information from it.

I did not understand, what was the point of all that? We learnt nothing and wasted 2 weeks. It is not always that extreme, but copying down notes happens quite often. Just imagine it as you go on the Internet to read about something, but as a future reference you decide you want a copy of the text. Instead of printing you write it out with a pen on a piece of paper.

It's not laziness. It's saving time while getting the same value for less work.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I-doser - anaesthesia SUCCESS

When I say success, I mean to the extent of how far it can go with me sitting in a moderately comfortable position with my headphones(not the greatest) instead of lying in a relaxed position with good headphones that wouldnt fall off. I also can never clear my mind and always have that voice telling me what to do.

So, at about 11PM last night, I decided I would use the anaesthesia dose to put me to bed. Interesting results. At first nothing really happened, I was getting bored and I was only 6 minutes in but I had a compulsion to continue.

At about 70%, my left leg started getting numb. No, it wasn't because I was sitting in a bad position but I started thinking it was actually working. Further on, numbing increased and started in the right side of my torso. These both continued for a short period, maybe a few minutes, after the dose.

That's one of the effects it's supposed to give, the other is drowsiness. I felt drowsy, it didn't put me to sleep but I felt tired. Not just because it was late. I was awake before it and I don't usually feel tired until the voice inside my head shuts up and lets me go to sleep. The funny thing is, the dose wears off shortly after it has finished. I couldn't get to sleep though I felt tired, but it had worn off, and I didn't feel like sleeping anymore. I managed to get to sleep well past 12.

So, as the dose concluded, I got up and walked to my bedroom. I felt heavier than usual and collapsed onto my bed. Whenever I listen to I-doser then go to bed, I turn off the light and the window glows and looks different. This may actually be because of having eyes shut for a while. But that night as I lay their attempting to go to sleep, I kept seeing a strange red colour in the bottom right corner of my peripheral vision. Just occasional, it wasn't a fixed object but wherever I looked sometimes it would be there. Random observation.

Other things to note are that I almost fell over in my bedroom, I started getting scared of nothing as I-doser causes me to get paranoid, and I felt easily relaxed while in bed. And like I said before, I wasn't in the optimal position for I-doser, so the effects were not complete, which is unfortunately why it didn't actually put me to sleep.

I-doser does work. It is just harder to do it than they tell you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Improve Primary School Homework

The solution to primary school homework is simple -- don't just pile up tasks for them to complete. Instead they should be taught how they can effectively study for themselves and not have to slave over unrelated homework. Then, by the time they reach high school, they would have figured out that what the teacher gives them isn't important - it's what they actually learn that is related to the course.

Kids come home from school, often packed with homework to complete by the deadline. Not all, but definitely a considerable amount of children anyway. They do not need to be given a large amount of work to complete at home, especially those in the low grades. It would be a better idea to influence them to study the material themselves rather than given a preset homework sheet designed for everyone.

School's seem to overlook a lot. Students would spend a lot less time doing homework if they weren't given much, but knew that they had to study it for themselves. They would also learn the same amount in the process making homework much more efficient and effective. It would carry on through high school. Students, particularly smarter ones, won't have to be told what to do for homework. They will just know "learn this" but not to be bothered by busywork.