Category Archives: Advice

‘I’m constantly asking: Why?’ When mass shootings end, the painful wait for answers begins. – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/im-constantly-asking-why-when-mass-shootings-end-the-painful-wait-for-answers-begins/2018/03/15/6fb0347e-1d8a-11e8-b2d9-08e748f892c0_story.html?utm_term=.febc803e891c

Toward the end of their interviews, Reid asked Holmes what he believed caused him to kill others. Holmes boiled it down to hard numbers: 45 percent was caused by his belief in the point system, another 45 by the feeling it would prevent his suicide, and 10 percent by his broccoli-like hatred.

Reid, however, said he found those answers lacking.

“You could call them excuses in a way, because they don’t make sense,” he said. “People break up with their girlfriends every day; that doesn’t mean they become killers. They struggle with depression and impulses; that doesn’t mean they become killers. These things are associated with the action, but they are not predictive.”

Reid is a forensic psychiatrist who clearly has no clue how mental illness works.

This sounds exactly like OCD to me, except instead of checking the locks 3 times or washing hands for exactly 45 seconds to prevent bad things from happening, Holmes was certain that killing people would save his life because he knew the alternative was him committing suicide, something he knew he didn’t want to do.

While this seems like an unsatisfactory answer, it is one that shows that there is a way to prevent future attacks of this type. OCD can be treated.

Now, I’m sure that some people are thinking, “well, such bad thoughts can be shut down; they’re a choice.” Uh no. They’re not a choice. People don’t get to choose what their obsessions are or what works or doesn’t work (for them).

I have a problem with songs (and thoughts) getting stuck in my head for hours on end. Hours. But I randomly found a trick that works to stop the repetition: I’m a Little Teapot. Yep, somehow this nursery rhyme a) doesn’t get stuck in my head and b) is capable of shutting off whatever has been on repeat when nothing else has.

You may be thinking, “well, I get songs stuck in my head all the time!”

For days on end? 

With no relief?

Where you happen to stumble upon one thing that brings you quiet for a little while?

This forensic psychiatrist has unintentionally shown exactly what’s wrong with the current system: we don’t recognize universal symptoms as universal when it’s easier to assume that there must be a deeper problem.
 I get why this happens. We don’t want t stigmatize all OCD as the same. We don’t want to stigmatize the issue. And that’s fine! That’s great! There are many many different flavors (from mild annoyances to severe “I can’t live like this”)!

But ultimately, it is all the same. And it needs to be treated as such if we want to move forward as a society. Not because a handwasher and door-lock-checker can suddenly become a serial killer (actually, since these are coping mechanisms they’d be less likely to “snap”), but because everyone deserves to live in peace and while we may think of handwashers and door-lock-checkers as quirky and harmless when compared to people whose coping mechanism is murder, neither group gets to live in peace. Both are slaves to their obsessions. That’s not fair to them.

What makes the Parkland shooter different is that everyone in his life knew he was troubled and wanted to gwet him the help he needed.

But their efforts were stymied by red tape. The type of red tape that seems to stem from a lack of money invested in mental health care.

Calls for putting more police officers in schools, arming teachers, and installing bullet proof glass and metal detectors all strike me as reactionary. They are all things that will respond to the next shooting, but will do absolutely nothing to prevent it. 

I think such money would be better served by creating an in-school suspension system that focuses on mental healthcare rather than just shuffling troubled kids along. And there should be a seemless transition between graduation and adult mental health care. Cost should be no object because anyone asking for help for themselves or a loved one should receive it. Period.

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Hubby has Diabetes

And it’s like the best thing ever!

A little over a week ago, hubby drove himself to the hospital because he thought he was having a small stroke (he was really zoning out, his face felt more numb than usual, and he was drooling a bit; he sounded fine on the phone with me, so I wasn’t super weorried).

He passed all the neurology tests with flying colors, but his blood sugar was through the roof. He refused insulin because a) he has a serious needle phobia (with good reason) and b) he was blaming drinking 6-8 Mountain Dews a day for the past year or so (and Caffeine Free Coke or Fruit Punch soda before that) and figured he just needed to work it through his system.

They kept him overnight and I stayed with him. I was very unimpressed that they did not put him on a diabetic friendly diet, though we chose him the better of the options for lowering his sugar. I was also unimpressed that no one pushed him into alternatives for the injected insulin he was refusing (though, we were in the neurology ward, so there’s probably a different mentality there).

Actually, the nurse that pissed me off most was the one in the ER who told him that his sugar was too high, but yes, he could have “something” to eat then immediately ran out of the room so quickly I couldn’t ask her what would be best for me to get him. She didn’t come back as at all.

Anyway, after more than 12 hours in the hospital with his sugar not getting into normal range despite better eating/drinking practices, I gave him an ultimatum: he either took the insulin with his lunch OR he would go for a brisk 30-45 min walk after lunch, get his sugar checked again, and if it was still to high after some exercise (because laying in a bed wasn’t lowering his sugar) he would accept the insulin without complaint!

He agreed to walk. Keep in mind, the stroke in 2010 took all the feeling from his left side (without affecting muscle tone or motor control), which has slowly been coming back as pins and needles when it’s not numb. In other words, walking is at best uncomfortable and at worst HURTS! 
After checking with the charge nurse, I left him to walking while I went home for a shower and some supplies (they were planning to keep him a second night at the time), but while I was home, he was seen by a doctor who told him they’d release him as soon as they checked his A1C (which he bombed fantastically!).

I wasn’t 100% confident that he would take his new diagnosis seriously enough, so I’ve been his little Dictator about it for the past week. But, he’s surprised me completely!

He’s been walking a lot more! He drinks more water (limiting himself to 1 20 oz Gatorade (or other sugary drink) a day because he doesn’t really like water)! 

And shockingly enough, he’s been getting up “early” (10 or 11 am) AND EATING BREAKFAST!!!

HELL! When he came to bed (4am this morning), he told me to wake him up at about 9am with a specific breakfast request!

Hehe. You see, I’ve been slowly releasing the Dictator reigns as he proves himself capable, but he screwed up yesterday (his first real weekend where no one was likely to call him before noon). He went to bed at 3am, but didn’t wake up until 1:30 pm when I asked him if he was planning to take his medication. Yep, I let him oversleep his pill by a few hours to prove my point about him either setting an alarm or asking for a wake up call.

I was completely shocked this morning when he actually answered my question “What time do you want to get up in the morning?” with real answers, first 8am with just the pill, but later changing to 9am with  breakfast 😊. Good Boy!!

What’s most interesting is seeing his rapid shift into normal wakefulness! You have to realize that for the past 6 months to a year, he’s been sleeping as much as possible (14+ hours) after staying awake as long as possible (often 24+ hours). He had many seemingly valid excuses for his sleep habits, but since the diabetes diagnosis, he’s been practically spry! Getting him out of bed for whatever reason had been a chore, but for the past week all I have to do is offer him breakfast and he’s up for the day! I fully conclude that the trouble getting out of bed and his lethargy had everything to do with his blood sugar ☺.

His new medication hasn’t been kind to his stomach, but I already fully expected we’d be spending the next 6 months dealing with all kinds of fun side effects while he and his doctor figure out exactly what he needs. This doesn’t bother me one bit.

His main motivation is to be able to control his diabetes with diet, exercise, and a pill rather than needing insulin shots and in this I’m his biggest cheerleader. My family has every flavor of diabetes you can imagine (including 2 who control it solely with just diet and exercise), so I don’t care how he treats it so long as his sugar gets to where it should be!

Anyway, I should get up and get my butt to the grocery store. Of course he wants food we don’t have in the house for breakfast, haha! {Nah, I kid; I need to do the weekly shopping anyway and I like doing the shopping while most people are at church on Sunday mornings.}

Hubby Got Mansplained…

…by his son, haha.

Remember my post about the mansplaining I witnessed at work? 

Well, Hubby got to experience getting mansplained today after he had a busy afternoon. First, he had to go change the water heater at his dad’s house and then shortly after he got home, his phone rang for a police call. From my perspective, he was telling me about the water heater and then he left for the call and when he came back, he was bitching about his son.

What had apparently happened is that while he was changing the water heater, he texted his son about it, but didn’t get much of a reply because his son was working. During the police call, hubby got a text back from his son that listed all the rules and regulations of changing out a water heater (his son is a plumber’s helper).

Hubby pretty much grew up in the plumbing industry since his mentor was a plumber and he got dragged into working on plumbing early. His son knows this, which is why hubby was so annoyed to get a text that essentially lectured him on the proper way to change a water heater hours after the job was done.

Once I figured out what had annoyed hubby so much, I could only laugh.

I explained to hubby all about mansplaining including what happened at work with the pressman mansplaining how ink works to the GM.

Ironically (not really), hubby ended up mansplaining the whole thing to me as he bitched about being mansplained to, hahaha! When he was done, I pointed out that he’d just mansplained to me and that this was why I tune him out half the time, but that he was exempt from hard feelings about it because of his blue screen of death 😊. I got flipped off for my trouble, but I could only smile at that, haha.

I think it was a very productive conversation because now if he starts mansplaining something for real (not just a blue screen moment), I can reference the time he got mansplained to in order to head him off! Woohoo!

Texas Church Shooting Video Shows Gunman’s Methodical Attack, Official Says – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/us/texas-shooting-video-devin-kelley.html

If there are no criminal negligence charges filed against those people in the Air Force who didn’t do their job and report his assault convictions to the federal background check system…I don’t even know.

Will Republicans who have been bitching for years about how perfect the background check system is (“there can’t possibly be a way for someone who shouldn’t get a gun to get through the system! We don’t need more gun laws!”) finally understand what we (moderate) gun control folks want?!?!

1) A comprehensive background check (extreme vetting? Sure, IF we’re going to be assholes to refugees, too.) And a life sentence in prison if your negligence leads to someone purchasing/using a weapon that they use to do harm.

2) Comprehensive and regular gun safety training. No one should be stupid enough to leave ANY gun where a child can find it! Regular reminders of how badly gun ownership can go IS A GOOD THING! And, yes, I’m cool with having similar retraining for a driver’s license!

3) A limit on the number of guns a person can buy in a month (ideally in a lifetime). A gun is a WEAPON, not a toy! It should NEVER be an impulse purchase. If you start crying like a three year old because you can’t get a toy RIGHT NOW!! you are part of the problem. Grow up!

Guns become illegal when a person with no (recorded) criminal past purchases guns to sell to people who can’t purchase guns themselves. Period. Limiting the supply (with limits on purchases) not only increases the price on the black market (which will cause purchasers to need more money, leading to more non-gun using crimes (because they can’t afford one yet) that will make it easier to catch them before they buy the gun), but will obviously reduce the total number of illegal guns on the streets… eventually. TL;DR: Make it harder for criminals to buy guns on the black market=more slip ups=more arrests=ultimately less crime.

No, these 3 demands AREN’T perfect! Probably nothing would have stopped Paddock in Las Vegas. But I live in a place where between the 7 cities where is usually a gun related murder (or 2) every night. The status quo doesn’t work. There is a hole in the system that can be closed IF we quit pretending it doesn’t exist or worse care so much about our own ability to purchase guns like candy that we feel no guilt when someone’s death is directly related to our own greed and entitlement.

I nag, my tween complains — how do we end the struggle over chores? – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/help-my-12-year-old-wont-complete-chores/2017/02/21/582a1992-f553-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.00fb79b0ac9d

On tying chores to allowance, here is how I would do it:

Once the kid grasps the concept of money (needing money to buy things), they are old enough for their chores to be linked to their allowance. Since they should have already been doing age appropriate chores°, they will love getting paid to do what they’re already doing and will probably not realize over the years that an increase in the number and type of chores they’re doing is related to their age and development not an increase in allowance.

Let me explain. At 5 years old, the kid learns about the importance of money. They want money, so you say, “okay, if you complete all your chores this week, I’ll give you X dollars on Friday”. The kid thinks, “Sweet! I already do all my chores every week, so this is easy money!!”

As the kid gets older, they will want more money and you know they need to do more chores. They will gladly consent to doing more chores for more money. But, you were already planning to increase their allowance because you know a 10 year old probably can’t survive on $5/week. They think they’re getting the payraise for doing more work, when in reality, the payraise and work is unrelated… sort of.

You see, there’s a big problem that can arise with tying chores to allowance: what do you do when the kid doesn’t do their work? The simplest strategy I’ve thought of is that the kid loses money for every chore not done. $1/chore, depending on how the numbers crunch?

Since I believe that kids should be given reasonable choice as much as possible, I think that they should be allowed to choose their chores as much as possible.For younger kids, they may pick their daily chores for a given block of time* while older kids, have a master chore list^ for them to check off that let’s them choose the chores that fits their mood on a given day.

Any overlap between younger and older kids chore charts should be hashed out at the ~monthly meeting when the younger kids pick their chores for the month. Younger kids should be given first dibs on chores that are age appropriate, but be allowed to take on more responsibility if appropriate (like, they want to scrub the shower every week or help cook dinner).
°Note: There is a difference between chores and good habits.Chores are things that need to be done regardless of whose doing it. Habits are personal responsibilities that everyone has to do to be considered a responsible adult (brushing teeth, picking up their toys, etc). Chores can be mixed and matched depending on one’s roommates, spouse, or children. When a person lives alone, all the chores fall onto their shoulders. When living in a group, chores can be spread around (you don’t need 3 people washing dishes every night), but everyone, no matter their living situation, needs to automatically take care of their personal hygiene and pick up after themselves; teaching good habits is different from teaching how and when to do chores!
*So, every month or so, the younger kids decide on what they’re chore list is for every day: feed the dog, set the table, wipe up the bathroom, etc. When they get bored with these chores, they can choose a new set of chores. Younger kids take longer for their interests to change and they do better with a strict daily list of tasks.

^Older kids are capable of doing just about everything moms and dads can, which means they, like moms and dads, can decide what needs to be done and when. Someone needs to figure out dinner every night; who’s in the mood to cook? I’d suggest making the agreement = the total number of chores per week×/the number of people covered by that chore list @the amount of allowance that is appropriate. The teen is going to look at the list of everything that needs to get done in a week (7 dinners, 7 dish washings, etc, etc, etc) and pick the things they like best, based on their ever changing mood. If there’s more than one older kid, there will be competition over the choiciest chores, which seems like a good problem to have! Moms and dads, as members of the household, should also be included in the chores equation. School=Work, so none of this “I have a job and you don’t” argument (truthfully, school is more work than most jobs because of homework).

×However, it’s important to remember that not all chores are created equal. I’d suggest ranking chores by difficulty and making a hard chore like washing clothes count for more than an easy chore like feeding the dog. To adjust the equation, simply add together the rankings rather than the base number.

Here’s an example of a partial master chore list:

Family members: 2 parents, 2 teens = 4 participants

Dinner (7×2 (ranking)) = 14 points

Feeding dog (7×1) = 7 points

Washing clothes (includes washing, drying, folding, sorting/putting away) (3 or 4 (or however often as necessary) ×4) = 12 or 16 points

Dishes (7×2 (4 in my real house because we don’t have a dishwasher) = 14 or 28 points

Take the number of points (47 or 61) and divide it by the number of people responsible (4) so, each person is responsible for about 11 or 15 points worth of work. The ranking score above is how many points you earn for doing a chore once. A person who primarily feeds the dog will have to cook or wash dishes a couple days while that cook/dishwasher gets the day off.

Of course, your milage will vary.

A Week Without Trump

I just came up with the ULTIMATE April Fool’s Day prank from America to Donald Trump!

Since Trump loves being the center of attention, wouldn’t it  really piss him off if the media refrained from using his name and photo/video for the week leading up to April Fool’s Day. Feel free to use the generic “the president” as necesary. By March 28th, he’ll probably be sweating bullets wondering what happened.

But, here’s the best part: on April 2nd, everything goes back to normal and nobody tells Trump what happened.

When the President acts like a middle schooler, you treat gum like a middle schooler.

So spread the word folks! Let’s do this!

If nothing else, it will give us all a much needed break.

DemandBridge Offers Great Advice

The print shop I work at has a warehouse that we use to store and ship some of our customer’s stock (so that they can order bigger quantities to save money per piece and not have to worry about suddenly running out if they mind the reorder memos). We use DemandBridge to write up all the orders, keep track of the inventory, and generate invoices (and it probably does a lot more stuff too).

Every time DB opens up, the “intro screen” has some witty quote or proverb that I always take the time to read. Today’s particularly made me smile:

Some things never change.

No matter which way you turn, your butt is always behind you.

It seems to me that this is an excellent perspective from which to view the world.

Well. For those items that you really can’t change, of course. There’s a lot of stuff that people say we can’t change, but that’s just because people are lazy and/or don’t want to change. There is a difference!

Obedience and Disobedience

I’m back to reading Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood. This sentence from Chapter 7: Everyday Forward, brought me to a screeching halt:

Disobedience brings negative consequences; obedience brings positive consequences.

Now, I realize that this is coming from a dad who means it quite innocently in the way of “there’s a good reason why a child should STOP on a dime and not run out into the street.”

But, we literally just had a chapter on how and why women are supposed to submit to their husbands and earlier in this chapter, this same dad “explained that civil authorities (like presidents) are God-given blessings for our flourishing.”

[I wonder how much tongue biting went with saying/writing this about Obama.]

The chapter on submission implies that wives aren’t supposed to blindly to bad husbands, but since I hat advice is immediately followed by:

“Ultimately, Christ is a wife’s final authority….As a wife follows her calling to submit in marriage, she is ultimately submitting to Christ”

Paired with NO ADVICE on how a woman is supposed to deal with an abusive husband (i.e. divorce his ass!) and Lori Alexander’s disgusting article about how women are supposed to submit without any expectation that their husband will reform himself (or as I think of it, the most blatant propaganda to keep women in abusive relationships), it appears that “not blindly submitting” really means that women know and accept that they are being treated like dirt.

{If you feel you are being abused and need help, please call the Domestic Violence Hotline:  +18007997233 or visit http://www.thehotline.org}

Is it no wonder I got concerned when a dad wants to teach his children that obedience (always and only) leads to positive effects and disobedience (always and only) leads to negative effects?

The world is not black and white and children are NEVER too young to learn that sometimes disobedience is the correct choice!

  • Being abused by a person (especially when the person is in an obvious position of power).
  • The Holocaust HAPPENED! Other Genecides are happening today!
  • Jesus Camp has a scene where a 10 year old boy says that Galileo should have submitted to the Church’s teaching on the Sun orbiting the Earth. Because apparently scientific discovery is disobedience.

Children  should be taught right from wrong and why they shouldn’t do certain things for their own safety. But teaching children to “do what I said because I said so” doesn’t teach children real life skills except how to please people.

When Theory Matches Reality

Ever since I decided to become a teacher (for apparently the second time in my life, haha), I’ve paid a lot of attention to education as discussed by commentators and lawmakers.

Since I was a middle and high school student during “No Child Left Behind” and in college when “Common Core” was adopted, I heard a lot of adults and educators complaining about both because they’re too strict and don’t let teachers make decisions.

Now, at some point in college, I decided to consider myself a Non-Conformist. Pretty much, I do my own thing based on my own rules and am very good a “smiling and nodding” when I think other people’s ideas are bat-shit crazy.

When I first heard about “Common Core” the thing that struck me most was that it would mean that students in (hopefully) all 50 states would be taught using the same curriculum. This, I thought, would mean that a student could transfer from one school in one state into another school in a different state without much confusion due to repetition and stuff being “skipped”. I have a cousin who moved from SC to PA (or vice versa) in 4th grade and thought that the Civil War was 2 different wars because of the completely different way it was taught in both states. I think that this is the example that shows exactly how screwed up our education system is in America. Living in Southeastern VA means that there are a lot of military kids who move around a lot and they deserve to have one solid education, not a piecemeal one based on what the individual states think is important.

Anyway, so, I was loving Common Core and then I started hearing parents and educators complaining about the new way of teaching math. Mmmkay….

They started showing me examples. I agree: that crap is weird!!

But…is that a problem with the overall aspect of Common Core? Or is it an implementation problem?

Hehehehehe.

My education class this semester is Language Acquisition and Reading. This week we’re learning about lesson planning, which includes information on Basal Readers which has since become the educational idea of a “core reading program”. Essentially, teachers are handed a reading program that’s supposed to solve all their problems so long as they work through the program systematically with their students. The article we read this week explains why this doesn’t work (USING BASAL: From Dutiful Fidelity to Intelligent Decision Making by Peter Dezvitz and Jennifer Jones).

Essentially the problem is that no two children or classrooms are exactly the same (duh). The Basal can offer a great place for novice teachers to start, but teachers still need to evaluate their students to determine exactly what they need individually. The Basal can’t really differentiate for students.

Which, really, only serves to prove the point I’ve been trying to make for going on 10 years now: the school system can make all the mandates they want, but teachers are completely free to revise and plan on their own (“defying the school system’s mandates”) all they want so long as at the end of the day the student is learning exactly what they need to learn!!

Before “No Child Left Behind” and “Common Core” Virginia had it’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Every student in 3rd, 5th, 8th, and various high school classes had to pass these suckers in order to graduate and the student’s scores had great influence on teachers keeping their jobs and schools getting accreditation.

This, of course, led to many teachers and administrators deciding that it was better to “teach the test” so that the schools kept up appearances of offering a quality education.

I call these teachers LAZY!

You see, even though I was in AP and dual enrollment classes in high school, I still had to take the SOL tests. Here’s the thing: as a class, we NEVER studied for the SOLs. This is because the AP and dual enrollment requirements are above and beyond what the SOLs ask and so without any special preparation, we AP kids easily aced or nearly aced the SOLs.

I had many friends in regular classes and they were given vast workbooks meant to prepare them for the SOL tests. I read through them and was fascinated and appalled by how little in depth knowledge was required of them! That’s not right!

Since I spent so much time with the “regular” kids, I could never understand what made me special. Sure, I had more knowledge, but that was because I was in classes that required me to go above and beyond and so the incidental facts were easily retained.

It’s easy to remember that the Revolutionary War was fought between 1775 and 1783 when you’re writing essays in 30 minutes on “To what extent is a Revolutionary War a literal revolution where society returns to the status quo after a short period of change?”. Memorizing dates is lot easier than trying to determine if everything after a revolution is actually just like it was before the revolution (I’m convinced that it’s more like a spiral where life is similar, but with a striking difference; like, American’s don’t drink as much tea as the English).

Anyway, since I think that students are much more competent and capable than school systems seem to give them credit for, I’ve always decided that if a teacher is complaining about too much regulation and testing by administrators, the teacher probably isn’t a very good teacher.

Do many kids get stressed out about taking too many tests? Yes. Can students be given the skills to make these tests so easy that they’re a joke? HELL YES! If a teacher is afraid of their students doing poorly on any given test, then the teacher hasn’t taught them properly. Period.

And any teacher who thinks that gathering meaningful data about their students and evaluating how that data should influence instruction is too much work should be fired. We did Running Records a couple weeks ago. Yes, they seemed awkward, but I just watched a YouTube video of a teacher performing one very fluidly as part of small group instruction. In other words, I see how easy performing a Running Record can be with practice and the data it provides is invaluable. To think of it as too much work undermines just how much work and care goes into teaching!

I was reading these tips for Homeschooling and thought it was pretty horrible that in the chart for analyzing different methods of education, the amount of parental involvement was listed under the disadvantages! I mean…if parents are going to be teachers, then they should be comfortable being teachers! That means lesson planning. That means evaluations. That means actually learning the content before you attempt to teach it! I think that there’s a reason why most of the homeschooling blogs I follow don’t have much information for teaching children after they’ve become “independent readers”. Once the kid can read it seems like the parent only exists to answer specific questions that the child has (which means Google?).

I’ve taken enough standardized tests from elementary to high school to know one thing: except for the writing example section, they’re always multiple choice tests. I highly doubt that Common Core has added short answer sections. Which means that even in the math section, with the crazy, seemingly made up techniques, the only thing that matters is that the student gets the correct answer.

So, in a real world classroom, if the school system mandates a specific way of instruction, the teacher can teach that, plus whatever other techniques that individual students may have an easier time using. Because, here’s the thing: most of that “crazy math” is just meant to help students better grasp the concepts of numbers and how they relate to each other. It’s supposed to help students rely less on memorization and more on why math works.

  • 1/16th=0.062
  • 3/8ths=0.375
  • 5/8ths=0.625

I hate rotely memorizing things! I don’t have the patience for drills and I find such isolated facts to be useless information. But, I’ve just listed 3 of the more obscure inches to decimal conversions that I know (skipping the obvious quarters and halves). Why do I know these? Because I work in a print shop and our line-gauges are in inches while our paper cutter is in decimals. If I’m measuring something to cut it, I have to do the conversions. We have a cheat sheet right on the wall behind the cutter, but after a few months, they started to stick. And once I have them memorized, I don’t need to look at the cheat sheet anymore. (In a classroom, a student would probably be required to carry out the long division to make the conversion).

If a Common Core tests asks the student to do a division problem, the answer will be in numbers; it will not be asking them to show their work unless the question requires them to use a specific technique! But, that means that the teacher should have taught that technique as something to be learned, and if the student doesn’t understand the technique, other techniques should be taught in conjunction, with emphasis that learning the technique that will be asked about on the test is as important to learn as how to find the correct answer.

Do you see what I did there? If there are 4 ways to solve a problem, then the teacher should teach all 4 ways, illustrating why each of the ways is different and giving each it’s proper name. In other words, the techniques are facts to be learned, not just what the answer to the problem is.

If Common Core doesn’t test specific techniques and those techniques are useless once the core information has been memorized (e.g. 7×8=56), then it really doesn’t matter how kids learn to do math so long as they learn the technique that works best for them.

See? Lazy teachers are part of the problem. It’s harder to teach 4 techniques instead of just one, so I’m sure many teachers are unwilling to add onto their already overflowing workloads, even though I’m personally convinced that it’s actually easier to teach 4 techniques instead of trying to force the wrong technique onto a specific student.

P.S. This of course leads back to homeschooling parents who don’t want the state to oversee their child’s education. Remember what I was saying about the SOLs? If you as a homeschooling parent are teaching your child above and beyond what the minimum requirements of the state are, then you should have no fear of your child taking state mandated tests to ensure that they’re getting a basic education.

And if you’re refusing the teach your child evolution because you’re afraid that it will hurt their relationship with God (and that is why you keep your child out of school and are afraid of state tests), you are a bad teacher. Teaching the science adequately will not alter faith since religion and science have nothing to do with each other. Science describes the what and how; religion gives reasons for the why. Science functions perfectly without getting stuck on why things work the way that they do; for science why doesn’t matter. Lying to your child about how old the Earth is because this information disagrees with your holy book only serves to disadvantage your child because you’ve most likely cut out or otherwise undermined the very foundation of scientific inquiry: The Scientific Method.

Pro-tip: teach everything from the standpoint of the Scientific Method. Background Information/Observation, Hypothesis, Design and Conduct the Experiment, Evaluate the Data, Draw a Conclusion. Repeat steps as needed. Seriously, it works for every subject (or so say’s this history and environmental science major :-))!

Horse Pills

While reading about a little girl with HIV, I was struck by how very large her pills are (a lot of the article was about how she had to be told about the HIV because she was fighting the pill taking so much). 

So, I’m curious. Why are some pills so huge? I assume it’s because you need so many milligrams of the medication. But, why doesn’t the manufacturer make them half the size with instructions to take two instead of one? Does pill size have something to do with efficacy?