Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Category: education

My last drawing (until later)

I’ve still been drawing every day.

With so much drawing, I’ve filled up my second drawing book.

I asked Pa if I could stop having drawing on my school list. He said yes.

So, as of the end of my drawing era, I was most interested in shadows and textures. I was really starting to get the hang of them. One thing I never figured out was rumpled fabric. I tried many times, but I could never do it well and it never seemed realistic.

I worked on shading and textures up until a few pages from the end of my drawing book.

I wanted to do something easier for the end.

On my last page, I decided to make the drawing below:

I thought it would be fun to make up one drawing out of the whole page.

I needed a character that would be easy to draw. I don’t really know what they are, so I decided to call them Gerbils.


All the individual situations are my original creation, but the whole thing was inspired by “The Mighty Fruit Fight” page in Where’s Waldo? The Wonder Book.

At first, I was going to copy a lot from that picture, but I decided to first draw my own ideas that I had come up with.

After that, more and more ideas kept popping into my head until the page was filled.


There are several mistakes, for example, the text at the top says “WAR OF THE GIRBLES”. It was supposed to say “WAR OF THE GERBILS”. I guess I was just too focused on the drawing part 🙁

But no biggie.

Also, the guy on the turtle’s head (see below) looks like he’s holding an arrow on his head. That’s supposed to be a spear with which he’s about to stab the other Gerbil.

Also, the gerbil who is about to be stabbed in the the scene above is missing his tail.

I don’t think that flags really blow up the way shown below:

Un-blown-up flag:

Blown-up flag:

Also, in the two pictures above, you can plainly see that the Gerbil Kings’ tents have self-supporting systems built in…

 

Thanksgiving and the Law of Cosines

Doodle told me this morning that he has been “really enjoying triangles”, but he had some inquietude about the Law of Cosines … he couldn’t quite get why and how it works.

It is one thing to be able to use a formula, yet another to prove or derive it. But often far beyond both of those is the ability to internalize it — to have a mental map of its operation.

We hacked around with it for a while, trying to get some traction on it. After about 30 minutes, we both felt satisfied that we had our heads around it.

It struck me that he is habituated to understanding everything he learns, and it is always a let-down to him if we have to just accept something, lacking the ability to see inside some “black box” of knowledge. I could hardly have formed such a habit in a school setting, because the proofs and formulas came on schedule — too fast to internalize — and no one prepared me for such a task.

I never even internalized the Pythagorean Theorem, yet supposedly I was one of the top math students in my state.

(Can you use the images below to do this? See here and here for more.)

“Other folks trying to understand the Law of Cosines would really benefit from a little visualization app, like you did for the eclipse shadow,” I said.

He agreed and seemed to think it wouldn’t be too hard. Then we pondered about how it would be for him to do a family of apps devoted to demonstrating complicated concepts.

With limited help from the local web goddess (Sudoku), he recently started into the long slog of setting up for coding Android apps. Many headaches and investigations later, he can make a smiley face app and send it to my phone.

Yet, I have no doubt that he will soon be blessing the app store with some little treasures. He has a calm persistence and a real love of creating these works. And he’s eager to be working in a serious coding environment where he has good tools at hand. (unlike his current situation, pouring his work into the beginner-oriented Khan Academy platform)

What is the common thread of all of the above? It is that he is blooming in a low-structure “pull environment” where he determines his pace and has room for chasing his curiosities.

So, being Thanksgiving 2017, I declare that I am thankful to the modern pioneers of homeschooling (parents from the 60’s and 70’s who took big risks) who helped make our wild, wonderful unschooling world possible.

Thank You! … and happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

 

 

“Ring of Fire” Solar Eclipse

The skies were cloudy in Santiago this morning, but in the south of Chile, a rare sight occurred in the sky: a “ring of fire” solar eclipse. We watched it online. 🙂  And even on our computer monitors it was breathtaking.

Here it is, seconds before the “ring of fire” eclipse was complete…

And here it is complete…

Here are those images again, lightened so it’s easier to see the red.

Max Ventilla on modern education

I would argue that you’ve had one big trick that humans figured out over the last 500 years. Before computers, it was fossil fuels.

But now we’re discovering how to pull free mental work out of the ground. That’s going to be a huge trick over the next 50 years.

The idea that you can pull free physical work out of the ground, that was a really good trick, and it resulted in all of these exponential curves. But now we’re discovering how to pull free mental work out of the ground. [using Artificial Intelligence]

That’s going to be an equivalent, huge trick over the next 50 years. It’s going to create that same kind of inflection point, and it’s going to create even more opportunity and much more displacement.

I have a hard time understanding how the way that we best prepare the next generation for that future, is to have literally all of education policy, all of education decisions determined by folks that don’t really have a foot in that world.

I’m not saying that all of the sudden, “Oh, it’s about software.” The worst use of software in technology is in replacement of humans. This whole, “Oh, I give an iPad to a kid, and I walk away.” That’s craziness. AR and VR, that’s not going to be it, either.

It’s about human beings. It’s about the relationship that kids have with their peers, with adults. That’s what creates the motivation that creates the learning, but it seems odd to me that the purpose of school is to prepare kids for the future, and you don’t have people in the mix thinking about education or education policy, who are very familiar with the future at all.

[In a typical school setting] you say, “OK, well, I can’t grade 20 different demonstrations of knowledge that come back from 20 different kids, so I’m going to standardize, I’m going to say, ‘This is the way I’m going to test you, so that I can grade it quickly,’” you’re essentially training kids to think like computers. There’s an irony … you’re training humans to do the kind of thinking that computers are getting better and better and better at doing.

You have an education system that was created for a mass production era, and now we’re in a mass customization era. You have a traditional education system that’s all about turning generalist agrarian producers into specialized consumers of goods and information. We’re entering an era where being a producer of knowledge, being a producer of goods, being a producer of jobs is the way to be successful. It is the way to be happy, and it’s possible because you have these unbelievable platforms that have been created that elevate the individual through the combination of digital technology and society.

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