[Homestead] [SPAM] Re: [SPAM] Re: Schools
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Wed Nov 29 09:40:17 EST 2006
Most people today change careers several times in their lives.
You never know what you will need to know for a certain job.
First let me point out the focus of all this which will put a lot of our
respective emphasis in perspective. Back in the mid 60's President Johnson's
campaign for education pasted it's slogan on billboards and every sort of public
place, I remember especially seeing them on those advertising strips on public
buses. "To get a good job, get a good education." The country seems to have
swallowed it. Now of days you can hardly get anyone to talk about education
without it being tied to career. This is unfortunate. And it is definately
not the focus of this clan. We need some money, not much, but some. As the
children establish themselves independently, they will need money too. We work
for that without selling out souls to it. That is, career is not life, it is
not who they are. We have actively nipped in the bud the old bit about "What
do you want to be when you grow up..." Be? They are now what they will be,
themselves. What they do for money is NOT what they are, although that notion
serves the industrial/government/consumerist paradigm and is promoted by
So you see (may see) that the notion that one needs to probe deeply into each
artificially partitioned branch of math on the outside chance that they may
need that particular type of math described in those particular terms and the
ability to communicate that math in the agreed parlance because of some future
possible maybe career choice is a most foolish waste of resources.
And that's what it is. Because the second thing I'd point out in this is
that the various "branches" of math are all artificial constructs, a paradigm for
people to be able to communicate on common ground. A really deep
understanding of math works to keep those fences down. Describing statics and dynamics,
vehicular motion, integration, differentiation, etc. isn't the math itself,
it's only one system of describing and communicating it. Describing it and
segmenting it doesn't make it more advanced. It seems as if because you can
describe my son's calculations as arithmatic or algebra, you are willing to ascribe
to him a knowledge of same. But since what else he knows and can deal with
does not fit the pigeon hole of calculus, spherical trig, bodie plots etc. it
somehow doesn't exist or isn't 'advanced' or he doesn't know it.
A person comfortable and familiar with math as it exists in the real natural
world can easily drape the coat of nomenclature on it any time they choose.
The opposite is not true.
> What occupations deal with spherical triangles and
> would likely use trig? Astronomy, oceanography, meteorology,
> cartography, navigation, audiology (important for musicians too.), just
> to name a few.
Again the career thing. Having creditials and having worked as a speech
therapist, I'm all to familiar with audiology. Here's the impression the formal
education left with me. Sound waves are sinusoidal. The compression and
rarefaction of air is the function of the sine of the angle within the cycle. Do
you know that in a class of some 20 graduating audiologists and speech
patholotists, every one of them (except me, of course) thought that the schematic of
the wavy line was what a sound wave looked like. They thought sound was
traveling through the air as little squiggles that looked like that. Yesterday on
the launch ride the nine year old observed that when waves of the wake
encountered the flotsam on the water, the flotsam didn't actually move. She concluded
that the water wasn't moving either but rather undulating in a regular and
predictable pattern. She had grasped the concept of sinusoidal wave motion,
although she didn't use those terms ...... yet. Now which, my nine year old or
the audiology graduates, best understands spherical trig? The distance from
her concept to using the standard blather to describe it is short. The distance
from the blather to her understaning is vast.
> That sounds like a fun day, James. Pretty soon, your kids will be the
> captain of their own ship, and while they will be able to read the
> instruments and rig the sails, will they truly be able to navigate? Or
> will it be a hit and miss proposition. Did they use an astrolabe or do
> they know how to use one?
How many government school products know how to use an astrolabe or even know
what one is? You miss the point, I think. Schooling conditioning whispers
in your ear that if you don't have formal training in something like
navigation, it is far, far from you. With his interest in historical shipping, picking
up the use of navigation is within easy grasp should he ever decide he wants
it. There are no gaps and holes in the unschooled mind because nothing is far
However let's constrast that to the schooling notion that if you don't
specifically learn something, it leaves a gap in your knowledge. Wow! Government
school people and even dedicated schoolers at home are without hope! Look at
all the gaps! Even someone who is IN the field is hopelessly riddled with
gaps. For example, we might assume Ray has a very good knowledge of music since
that's his stock and trade. But if I posed this question, (just off the top
of your head, Ray, no fair looking it up): "An instrument is strung with a
wire string. It is tuned higher and higher until at exactly F#' two octaves
above middle C it breaks from the tension. I replace it with a string of exactly
the same material but twice the diameter. At what pitch does it break now?"
If a musician doesn't know that off the top of their head, does that
constitute a "gap" in their knowledge?
A survey done some months ago asked highschoolers what was the principle
ingredient in French fries and 78% didn't know. When shown a picture of a potato
as a follow up, more than 20% didn't know what it was. On this farmstead all
an sundry can tell you the life cycle of a potato, that it need acidic ground,
more than a usual share of phosphorus, that it is slightly frost hardy, and
they can identify the main cultivars by the shape of their leaves. The
possibility of in depth knowledge is only exists outside the classroom.
> I guess my point is that I know your kids are learning, but as a parent,
> I would worry that they would be overconfident in what they already know
> and since they don't presently see the need to learn something more
> advanced, they don't.
First, it isn't more advanced. Couching it in a jargon or parlance only
gives it the appearance of being more advanced. Also, as is part of the schooling
paradigm, if the person does not pigeon-hole it and use the proper and
approved jargon, it is deemed that they "don't know it." Second, their
'overconfidence' is in their ability to learn it and handle it. Only the schooler would
have overconfidence in what they already know, not the unchooler.
> Ask him a question for me...I have been wanting to know what the
> Vikings/Norsemen used for navigation. Obviously, they used the stars,
> but that is rather general information. Did they use sand clocks?
He says they were coast huggers. They mainly navigated by following ocean
currents as if they were rivers, by monitoring the water temperature and bits of
vegetation floating on it. That's why, says he, that they didn't take off
diagonally across the Atlantic but rather explored the European coasts and the
North Atlantic where they had predictable currents to follow.
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