Digital Cowboy

Digital Cowboy
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Archive for September, 2007

Reason #458 why I chose home education

Friday, September 14th, 2007

This is a cross-post of a comment that I originally posted at fark.com. I have added a bit to expound on the original comment for this blog post. In the interest of transparency, what I’ve added to the original Fark comment is in brackets.

The original op-ed that started the thread is here. The first paragraph is quoted from the original article. I presume it was written by someone holding a degree in journalism, the only degree that rivals a degree in education for it’s ease of acquisition by those prone to “schooling” and incapable of being “educated.” I still recommend reading it for context, if you care. Or if you just need a good laugh at what college graduates are paid to “write” for newspapers these days.

Indeed, as more than one former teacher has opined about this issue, high school is a good place to learn about rules, discipline and surrender of individual will to achieve a greater goal than fulfillment of one’s self-expression.

[I don't care one whit about the opinions of any teacher, former or current, and] this is likely made up by the ignorant writer, but what “more than one former teacher has opined” is, unfortunately true. Government school is the best possible place to “learn about rules, discipline and surrender of individual will.”

THIS is why I’m a home educator. It’s not easy, only because of opposition – the kids learn on their own mostly. [I don't struggle to get them to learn. To the degree that I fight at all with this, it's with those who would rather they be "socialized" than educated.]

There are no “public” schools. There are only GOVERNMENT schools and private schools. If the private Jewish schools teach Jewish fundamentals and the private Catholic schools teach Catholic fundamentals… What do you suppose Government schools teach?

Since you likely “graduated” from one of their government indoctrination camps, let me spell it out for you.

SIT DOWN. SHUT UP AND DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD.

Take your number and get in line.

Test results demonstrate conclusively that teachers, as a group (and I only point that out because I’m a fierce individualist [ - there are always exceptions that prove the rule]), are THE DUMBEST of ALL college graduates. Test results also let out the dirty secret that government school administrators are the dumbest of the teachers – like most government, the least capable rise to the top.

This first year principal is likely plum stupid. At the very least he’s ignorant and clumsy. He’s trying to establish power and authority. Typical of those with below average IQ and test scores.

Green-hair girl needs to be brought down a peg. She’s smart. THAT will not be tolerated in any government institution.

If you’re smarter than the mental deficients running the institution, you WILL be punished.

That’s the end of the original comment at Fark. All I would add is that I’m not personally on board with this girl dying her hair green. But that’s not the issue anyway and if my daughter decides to dye her hair green tomorrow or when she’s 17, I won’t stop her. It’s silly but on the other hand… it’s just silly. The real matter at hand is that we have some schmuck who is so stupid that he aspired to a government job as a principal and has never overcome the jealousy that he has for the smart kids and the jocks. (Green-hair girl is BOTH – she’s 4.0 AP and varsity volleyball. I’ll lay $10 at 3-1 that he’s never been either.)

He’s an idiot with an inferiority complex and with good reason – I dare him to take a public IQ test. It will show that he’s over-employed and would do much better at one of those jobs the immigrants are taking because he won’t. (Or doesn’t have to.)

THIS IS GOVERNMENT, friends. This is why I refuse to accept it and I work to shield my daughters from it as best I can.

In government, those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those that can’t even teach are promoted to administrators in “education.”

Taking the cat out of the cradle

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

I foolishly taught my girls the stupid, redneck saying, “See ya! Wouldn’t wanna be ya!”

A few days ago, on a beautiful day, they were running out the door to play and Emily said, as she was closing the door, “See ya!” The door slammed and then opened again. She stuck (just) her head back in and said, “Wouldn’t wanna be ya!” Door slammed again. Opened again and she stuck just her head in again and, with a very different tone, said, “I really wouldn’t wanna be you, Daddy. Know why?”

“Why, Honey?” (I said in a patronizing tone. I was busy. I just wanted them to go play.)

“‘Cause you work too much. (pause) I’m going to play now. You should play more, Daddy. I hope I don’t have to work as much as you when I grow up.”

And then the door slammed again. And she was gone?

I wept when the door slammed and I can’t write this post without weeping.

“And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon….”

That child is precocious. Memories flooded back. I have vivid memories of often laying in my bed at night when I was supposed to have been asleep hours before. Watching my Dad in the kitchen when the Johnny Carson monologue was over. (My bedroom door was always open and my doorway faced the hall.) He was getting ready to go to bed and had to be up early. He worked as hard as any man I’ve ever known.

Even then, as a very small child, I saw how hard he worked for us. At least once I prayed, “God, please don’t make me grow up. I can’t do that.”

Then he died young. That’s another story.

As I got older, I swore I would never do it. I was going to be rich! I didn’t care what it took or how much it cost or what I had to do. But I eventually realized that the people that get rich the world’s way neglect their families worse than those who, like my Dad, just work so hard to provide that they don’t have time.

Now I’ve found a third way. The right way.

“The Blessing of the Lord makes me rich and He adds no sorrow with it.” – Prov. 10:22
“Seek ye first the Kingdom and His righteousness…” Matt. 6:33

I am working hard but it’s a short-term commitment. I’ve found a better way. My daughters will never have to work. They’ll always have a good reason to. So they will only work in freedom, when, where, how and at what they choose.

If you wonder where this came from…. I turned 37 yesterday. My Dad was dead at 37 (anniversary… a couple days, too close to my birthday). I’m not the slightest superstitious. If he knew then what I know now, he would still be here and I have no fear at all. It’s not about that.

But a kid that lost his Dad at 12 can’t possibly avoid remembering the greatest man he ever knew on this birthday, especially when the anniversary of his going home is coming up soon, too.

I can’t wait to see him again.

“… When ya coming home son?”

“I don’t know when, Dad. We’ll get together then.

“Ya know we’ll have a good time then.”

And I’ve got two beautiful little ladies that are looking forward to meeting their grandfather, too.

There really is no gray

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Here’s something I just wanna throw out as food for thought.

Moral relativists often like to claim that “Life is not black and white. It’s just various shades of gray.”

It’s an interesting argument that I’ve sometimes espoused in the past and it’s almost singularly used to denigrate the idea that there are absolutes in this world – absolute right and wrong, mainly.

What I find interesting is that now that we’re in a “digital world,” we seem to be finding out that our best attempts to mimic the natural world can only be done with binary math.

The music you listen to on your iPod, the digital cable broadcast or HD satellite image you watch on your widescreen TV, the operation of every digital medical device, the video you watch on YouTube, the very words you’re reading right now… ALL digital representations of sight and sound.

Modern computer monitors, graphics cards and HD TVs are capable of representing BILLIONS of colors – more than the human eye can differentiate. Modern audio codecs can encode compressed audio that still has a frequency range greater than the human ear can hear.

Mankind’s science, with all of it’s learning and all of it’s arrogance has managed to re-create and reproduce (just) two of our five natural senses with near perfection. I’m not a skeptic that they can figure out how to do a couple of the remaining three soon. There have been promising efforts.

But it’s all digital. It likely will all be digital. “Digital” has come to be used in this age as a marketing term that is intended to imply “superior.” With good reason – it is almost always true that digital is superior. In many ways, it is the height of mankind’s discovery of how to recreate the world around him.

For those of you who aren’t geeks, let me clarify what “digital” means. It means that it is done with binary math. That is, bits and bytes. That is, ones and zeroes. Each bit is either on or it’s off. That’s how the computer that you’re using to read this, works. It all comes down to ones and zeroes. The chip in your computer – and every other microchip (currently) – only “understands” binary math.

On or off.

Black or white.

In all of our learning, we’ve managed to synthesize sound and sight (with motion) well only with microchips and binary math.

Black and white.

Now, the truly ambitious are speculating about the power we could harness with “DNA-based computing” – computers that use DNA as their base instead of binary. Many are excited about the possibilities. I’m not ruling out anything, but I’m not holding my breath either. I doubt they’ll pull it off any time soon. But even if they do, they’re still only discovering and imitating.

We live in a black and white world. Despite what anyone stretches their faith in science to believe, we are created in God’s image. That’s very different from being God. I find it fascinating that many of the same people that spout the “shades of gray” argument for many things, only have expertise in a binary world and don’t even see how ridiculous that makes the argument.

In the digital world, even shades of gray come down to whether the bit is set or not.