Consider Construction Trades

Consider Construction Trades

From https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/jobs-labour-market-climate-change-1.4944803?cmp=rss

Who will rebuild after a climate disaster as workers retire and weather worsens?

'We simply don't have enough tradespeople to rebuild after an event'

 

David Burke · CBC News ·

When flood waters recede and hurricane-force winds die down, Canadians can expect it will take longer for their homes to be rebuilt or their power to be restored if the country's labour market doesn't soon catch up to the realities of climate change. 

More powerful and destructive storms are driving up demand for construction workers, power line technicians and even insurance adjusters. 

"We simply don't have enough tradespeople to rebuild after an event," said Craig Stewart, vice-president of federal affairs with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. 

"Presently we are three months out from the tornados hitting Ottawa and there are whole apartment units that haven't been touched and are filled with snow now because there hasn't been anybody available to work on them." 

Damage from a tornado is seen in Dunrobin, Ont., west of Ottawa on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The storm tore roofs off of homes,
overturned cars and felled power lines in the Ottawa community of Dunrobin and in Gatineau, Que. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

 

Many workers are tied up with large commercial, industrial and residential
projects in Ontario and British Columbia, according to BuildForce Canada, an
organization that studies the construction industry and puts together long-term
labour forecasts.

The demand for people who can build homes, pave streets, wire a building or practise any kind of skilled trade connected to construction is expected to increase in the coming years.  

About 42,000 new construction workers will be needed to
help fill the void left by retirements, according to BuildForce. (Todd
Korol/Reuters)

 

Bill Ferreira, Buildforce's executive director, said a quarter of the construction workforce across the country is expected to retire between now and 2027. Some 42,000 new workers will need to be hired in the next 10 years. 

But none of BuildForce's labour projections even consider climate change in their workforce calculations. 

"We are all familiar with what happened in Alberta a few years ago as well as in Toronto with that severe rainstorm, most recently here in Ottawa with the tornado," said Ferreira. 

"Again these are incidents, isolated incidents, [it's] very difficult to build any sort of overall trend that we could take a look at or point to that would be driving construction demand."

Bill Ferreira, executive director of BuildForce Canada, says one quarter of people currently in the construction industry are set to retire in the next 10 years. (BuildForce Canada)

 

The insurance bureau sees a trend, though. And it's a costly one. 

In the 1990s, severe weather and wildfires caused about $100 million worth of damage a year. From 2008 on, that amount has surpassed $1 billion every year except for one.   

This year alone there have been more than $1.8 billion in insured losses across the country.

Emergency crews come to the rescue of a vehicle stranded in high waters on a Sydney, N.S., road during flooding in October 2016. The Insurance Bureau of Canada says powerful storms like this one are becoming more common. (CBC)

 

"What we have seen right now is that it can take months or even a year for people to get back into a steady living environment after a disaster," said Stewart. "We now know these events are happening with increased frequency, no area of the country is immune, it is going to happen." Power utilities across the country are
feeling that first-hand, as high winds snap power lines or wildfires turn
power poles to ash, leaving thousands without electricity. 

Utilities are already relying more and more on power crews from outside their regions to help cope with severe storms. (Olivier Plante/CBC)

 

More power line technicians are going to be needed to fix that damage and more engineers will be needed to help design power grids that are better able to handle bad weather, said Sergio Marchi, the president and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association.       

"We will be needing a lot more tradespeople and certainly in our sector the kind of dedicated, experienced line workers who we call our modern day heroes."

Much like the construction industry, many power workers are nearing retirement age and will need to be replaced. That, combined with climate change, will further increase demand for workers. 

"The silver lining is that it's not going to remove jobs because we're going to need more crews, more people to battle more storms that are now becoming more damage-creating because they're becoming extreme," said Marchi. "So we're going to need all hands on deck as they say."      

Sergio Marchi is president and CEO of the Canadian
Electricity Association. (Canadian Electricity Association)

 

Marchi said power utilities across the country have already been relying on more help from work crews from outside their provinces, because they don't have enough workers to repair severe storm damage in a timely manner.  

Even the insurance industry, which has spent years warning people about the dangers of climate change, found itself unprepared for the demands severe weather would place on its own employees.

There's a chronic shortage of insurance adjusters across the country to determine the cost of repairing or replacing a damaged home, said Stewart.

Without the adjuster to do the assessment, people are left waiting to get their insurance money. 

"A, we need more trained adjusters in the country," said Stewart. "B, we need better labour mobility laws so that when there's a spike, we're sharing adjusters across North America … so we can bring in adjusters as needed on a surge basis
after an event occurs."  

But the International Institute for Sustainable Development, an independent think tank, said there is a better way to deal with the repercussions of climate change.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is already seeing an increase in the number of severe storms across the country. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

 

It said Canada and every other country needs to toughen up its infrastructure to better withstand the changing climate. Roads, homes, power grids, even sewage systems may need to be improved. 

Only that will help communities weather the storm without suffering catastrophic damage, said Phillip Gass, a senior policy analyst with the institute. 

"It's not just about the  environment. It's about people's livelihood and jobs and that's what bothers me the most, to be honest, is some of the changes that we're going to be seeing and how it will affect families and communities."

The damage from bad weather has increased drastically in the last few years, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Almost every year in the last decade severe weather has caused $1 billion worth of damage. (George Mortimer/CBC)

 

 

 

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Funding Opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30 (Means you can get a Purchase Order number for 2019 - 2020 and use them to get supplies for September.)
  2. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  3. Deadline for using the 2018-2019 PO#: May 15
  4. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15  to July 1 (This means no special orders-- the ones that go through Purchasing. You can still use your 2019-2020 Purchase Order number directly with vendors who take HCOS Purchase Orders.) 

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

Dates and Links:  

June 7 Deadline for new work samples.

June 24 Report Cards are complete and available.

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Love Without Hypocricsy

Let love be without Hypocrisy

I appreciate those who called or email asking what I’ve been up to since I haven’t responded to SeeSaw uploads in a while. We attended the last of the BC wide Christian Home Education Conferences in Kelowna the last days of April. The conference was an excellent time to connect. I was personally touched, as many were, with Bonnie Landry’s remarks. Among Bonnie’s comments was that kindness is the Biblical virtue not being nice. Indeed, I have grown weary of being nice, and instead long to be one whose heart is full of kindness. For Bonnie kindness starts at home.

I tend to be far too nice and not nearly as kind as I should be. I remembered myself as a young teen reading Romans 12:9a, “Let love be without hypocrisy” and being deeply moved. When I am being nice, I am conducting myself in a way that I think will ingratiate myself to others; that is, I want to earn your love by playing a role, or providing some kind of service, in hopes that some benefit will come to me. Instead, I should give my obedience to Jesus and let my acts of kindness should flow from my imitation of the Master himself. In doing so, I get to create a channel for those “rivers of living water”. Where kindness flows people flourish, and nowhere more so than in your relationships at home.

Many teens can x-ray the sincerity of your love. As adults, we become increasingly practical, and we tend to forget the tender hearts of youth. I remember asking why my parents couldn’t love me as I am. A respected author reflecting on those words from his own son stated this was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. Are parents supposed to love your temper tantrums? But I think he misunderstood the question.  Like an investment, love comes first in time, and growth follows. But how will a youth know they are loved?

Many children and youth struggle with growing up in a demanding world. They need our support. Love, says Scott Peck, is the will to extend oneself for the growth of another. Kindness, says Bonnie Landry, is the way in which your children will know your love. John Michael Talbot once wrote, “through our love they can see that he lives”.  It takes great effort and maturity to be kind.  In being kind we extend ourselves, sacrifice our impulse to be angry and controlling, and demonstrating that a relationship with Jesus actually makes a difference. Part of kindness, says Bonnie Laundry, is to simply be affable, which means to be good natured. Proverbs 15 says, “a gentle answer turns away wrath”. We want our children and youth to be learners. There is no better foundation for learning than the kindness of a loving family.

After the conference, we attended a family event in Calgary. We camped in the snow and loved on our adult children. My daughter is now 20 weeks pregnant with our first granddaughter. We’re so excited for her. We hope to embrace our role as grandparents who are kind, gentle, and well seasoned.

 

Best Wishes,

Rob

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Funding Opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30 (Means you can get a Purchase Order number for 2019 - 2020 and use them to get supplies for September.)
  2. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  3. Deadline for using the 2018-2019 PO#: May 15
  4. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15  to July 1 (This means no special orders-- the ones that go through Purchasing. You can still use your 2019-2020 Purchase Order number directly with vendors who take HCOS Purchase Orders.) 

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

Dates and Links:  

June 7 Deadline for new work samples.

June 24 Report Cards are complete and available.

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Spring Science

Spring Science

Seedlings lend themselves to experimentation, but in the Northwest, I have found that only spring conditions truly lend themselves to a successful inquiry. Start with an exploration of seedling growth. Preview some videos such as this one, and begin to ask questions such as, what it would take to grow your own seedlings.

Meaningful questions that elementary or intermediate students can answer are questions such as, how does sunlight effect seedlings? Does a seedling know which way is up? Does the source of the soil make a difference in the growth of seedlings? Do seedlings need salt, or do they like salt and vinegar chips? Does the colour of the light affect the growth of seedlings? What matters more, the temperature or the intensity of light? These are but examples. The best questions are the ones you come up with while exploring. Just make sure that when you explore, you explore for questions.

Children usually need to be guided to make exploring purposeful. Present to them things they may not have seen before and look for signs of wonder. Ask them to express it and help them to shape it. Not all questions are equally created, and fashioning a good inquiry question is something for which they will need your help. When you have a question, reflect on why you are asking that question and ask if it is scientifically testable. This is the key stage and you are welcome to ask for help from your teacher. Your project will only be as good as your questions.

Once you have formulated your question, you’ll find you have one, or sometimes two things that you expect to change yourself and one thing you want to measure. So, for example, you may want to try growing seedlings in various amounts of compost. You control the amount of compost, so that is your independent variable. The dependent variable is the one that depends on the independent one. We guide our children to get used to taking data and plotting in a chart or a graph, or both. On the left or along the bottom is the part you control (independent variable), and on the right the part you want to observe and measure.

Once you know your variables, plan your experiment. Purchase any needed materials and supplies at this stage. An experiment is a fair test, so make sure that the only thing that changes is your independent variable, so for our example, if you have seeds in cups of soil, make sure that the size of the cup, the water, the light, and the temperature are the same for each cup. That is what makes it a controlled experiment or a fair test. You wouldn’t keep the one you want to win indoors and put the rest outdoors; and, you know this won’t work if you don’t do them all at the same time.

Measure all the factors that you can think of, including the one you are testing. Keep records of your data. Take pictures, draw sketches, and document carefully what you are doing at every step, right from the beginning. Keep the experiment going for as long as possible. Try to be objective, ask if someone else would get the same result.

Write a lab report. Include these headings: Introduction or Purpose, Hypotheses or Question, Method or Procedure, Recorded Data, Discussion, and Conclusion. Possibly more ideas here.

Happy Learning

Rob

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Funding Opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30 (Means you can get a Purchase Order number for 2019 - 2020 and use them to get supplies for September.)
  2. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  3. Deadline for using the 2018-2019 PO#: May 15
  4. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15  to July 1 (This means no special orders-- the ones that go through Purchasing. You can still use your 2019-2020 Purchase Order number directly with vendors who take HCOS Purchase Orders.) 

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

Dates and Links:  

April 12 Open House

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

June 7 Deadline for new work samples.

June 24 Report Cards are complete and available.

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Ten Rules for Math Worksheets

Ten Rules for Math Worksheets

ADST opportunity in Terrace

Beginning April 1, 2019, students Grade 6 to 12 are invited to apply for one or more of the following:

    • Entrepreneurship & Marketing  
    • Media Arts  
    • Robotics  
    • Woodwork  

Note that well-qualified Grade 6 learners may apply and would be welcome.  There are a number of other Graduation Level Courses linked here.

These Spring courses will run from April 1st – June 21st, 2019. Students will attend 3 hrs per week of classes and have approximately 5 hrs of ‘homework’ for 12 weeks. Classes will be held at 3504 Kalum St, Terrace and will be capped at 15 students. Courses will be underpinned by a Christian Worldview.

If you are interested just let me know and I'll provide additional instructions.

 

Ten Rules for Math Worksheets

Despite all that I’ve written, children learning at home will predominantly use a worksheet system. Worksheets do have an advantage, especially in the early years because worksheets present to the learner a structured learning task. It is easy to set daily goals. It makes re-writing the question unnecessary. Although I would maintain that writing the question is part of the basic math skill, many people seem to dislike it. I can give you a few rules for working through a set of worksheets.

1.  As much as possible do not leave children alone with worksheets. Do it together. Let them do the math, but be ready to answer questions they formulate. Coach them to formulate a question if they cannot. When you coach, be aware of your child’s feelings. The biggest predictor of how they do in math is how they anticipate feeling about it. Let them experience success every day. Encourage them to talk out loud as they work. Watch that they understand the concepts. Accuracy comes from practice and methodology, not just practice. So, watch for both.

2. Do not do worksheets without the answers close at hand. Always check your answers after every question, and make corrections immediately.

3. Show your work. Don’t take shortcuts. Work diligently, write clearly and properly. Write 0.5 rather than .5, for example. Write your fractions one number directly above the other, and so on. Sit straight, have good lighting, and space to work. Remember practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.

4. Do not “mark” children’s work with a red pen afterward. When they finish the worksheet, they should already know how they did. Marking with a red pen is about accountability more than about accuracy. Work with them like a coach, not like a judge.

5. Only do worksheets printed with enough space to write. If it gets crowded write, for example, “See number 3 on page 1 attached”. Staple blank paper and then go over to that. Never crowd your math, it’s very important and has a profound effect over the years.

6. Don’t skip the questions or sections that are different such as novel application. For example, if you’re doing trigonometry, don’t skip the section on estimating the height of trees. Don’t skip things like organizing numbers, patterns, estimating, predicting, checking, comparing, doing the same problem more than one way, and so on. For example, you may want to stop to see if 0.5 x 0.5 gives you the same answer as ½ x ½.

7. If it’s too easy, skip ahead. You don’t have to complete everything. It’s not good to waste learning time. There is little advantage to practicing the same problems over and over until they are super-mastered because they will continue to use those skills as they go through the curriculum.

8. Don’t stall out on one difficult skill. Move along and come back to it. Some people worry about so-called “holes”, which are small areas that were skipped in the past but now are needed skills. Holes can be over-rated and may fill in anyway. Some holes are too large and you can see them because the learner gets stuck at the same spot every time. If that persists, go back and turn the “hole” and turn it into a strength by completely mastering it.

9. If it’s frustrating then slow down or find some easier math. If children grow to hate math no amount of discipline will correct it.

10. The last is like the first. Some people have big houses to give their children space. Some people give their children math worksheets so they can work independently. If this is working well that’s fine, but try to stay involved. Make math a family experience and they’ll love it. For most children when it comes to math, children don’t need space, they need you.

Happy Learning

Rob

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

Re-Enrolment

If you have children whom you expect to be enrolled in HCOS next year, then please re-enroll them now.  Just follow the re-enrollment process in Encom. There is no advantage in waiting, you are not giving away your options in the fall. I have requested a reduced workload for next fall and I've asked that my existing students get priority, but I need you to take advantage of that.

Dates and Links:  

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 1 ADST Program in Terrace starts

April 12 Open House

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Five Rules for Better Math

Five Rules for Better Math

This post includes some samples of what I mean. Don't try to read or understand math, just examine how it looks on the page.

As I described in my previous newsletter, I was a math survivor. Through hard work and determination, I made it through. Unbeknownst to me at the time, and perhaps the true reason for this grace upon my life, was that I was to raise a mathematically gifted child. After the Kelowna homeschool convention (CHEC) I go to Calgary to watch my son-in-law graduate with his B.Min. Then I drive to Burnaby to attend my son’s dissertation for his Ph.D. in engineering. Then we'll have dinner to celebrate. I’m one proud daddy and I like to think he got a good start. He was doing calculus while still at home in high school.

Albert Einstein's Notebook

A way to improve in any field is to imitate the masters. I often will gravitate toward movies about Science or Math. One of them was Proof (2005). There’s been a handful in my lifetime. I also read articles and flip through web pages, in particular noticing the workbooks of the greatest in the field.  Of course, these people are extremely talented and few will reach their level. But I also see things we can all do.

I have observed they:
1. are up for the challenge of discovering the truth.
2. Spend time and practice with feedback.
3. Like to make simple line-drawing sketches even if they’re no good.
4. On the page, their mathematics looks like a work of art.
5. Are not afraid to use up paper.

Raising a mathematically gifted boy included demonstrating a passion for the truth of it. Mathematics can be unforgivingly accountable. No faking or fudging; the answer is either right or wrong. When my kids were young and they were sometimes disappointed because life is hard and they didn’t expect it. I would cuddle them and love them intensely, but never take them away from the challenge if I thought it was attainable. Better to try and fail then never to try. Young men and women who fall of a horse need to bet back on. Kids need your love and mollycoddling isn’t love. When they know they’re loved, they can face up to challenges. Because any Mathematics worth doing is going to challenge us. That said, frustration does shut down learning. It can be a matter of emotional maturity to deal with feelings of frustration. This is where parents have to use their best judgment.

Calculus 101: Notice how the answer is checked. Click to see closer.

Mathematics is largely a skill. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours is, of course, basically wrong. Skills come about when talent meets practice. Practice doesn’t even make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. So how to get perfect practice? Check your answers after each question and correct yourself. You can’t learn to shoot if you can’t see whether you hit the target. Check your answers immediately.

Mathematicians have a special relationship with paper. You can write an essay on a computer screen but not a proof. You can’t think mathematically on a computer screen unless you are coding a computer. Real mathematicians don’t have worksheets. They do their math on blank or lined paper. The paper is the focal point of their thoughts, an extension, or map, of working memory. There they doodle and write down ideas and try to find more ways to think about the problem. Once they get an idea, they work it out logically.

Have you ever noticed the handwriting of a mathematician? They are able to present their mathematical ideas in their own had with stunning clarity. Their numbers and letters are well formed, the lines are straight and the symbols clear. It looks amazing.

Mathematicians waste a lot of paper. No to be fair modern printers waste orders of magnitude more, but mathematicians include plenty of white space, whatever they take the space they need to write and think clearly. A cluttered and messy page is a cluttered and messy mind. Lots of great math is accompanied by a wastepaper basket full of crumpled paper.

Ramanujan

So here are the five rules of learning Math
1. Don't get frustrated, but be an adult and face up to the challenge.
2. Put in your time but get feedback on your answers.
3. Doodle, draw and write. It won't hurt your hand.
4. Make it look good.
5. Use lots of paper.

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

Re-Enrolment

If you have children whom you expect to be enrolled in HCOS next year, then please re-enroll them now.  Just follow the re-enrollment process in Encom. There is no advantage in waiting, you are not giving away your options in the fall. I have requested a reduced workload for next fall and I've asked that my existing students get priority, but I need you to take advantage of that.

Dates and Links:  

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 12 Open House

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Learning Math at Home

How to Learn Math at Home

How to learn Math at home

All the mathematics I have ever learned I learned at home. That’s after a decade of high school and university science programs in which I struggled almost daily to improve. I was absolutely not born to be good at Math, it simply was required for the programs I wanted to study. In fact, I had to take Math 11 twice. I went on to complete Algebra, Linear Algebra, and Precalculus 12.  I completed at least 18 credit hours of post-secondary Mathematics including calculus, differential equations, experimental design, statistics, quantitative research methods, and genetics. All of these courses required my very best effort just to obtain modest grades. I truly identified with an advertising slogan on TV, “Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down”. Although I failed my first major Math class, my last math class scored an A+ with a congratulatory call from the professor. How did I do that?

Throughout those years was attending a school, I can say this with confidence: I never understood a single thing a Math teacher said--about Math at leastI was clueless in every class, every time. The best I was able to do in class was to make a record of what I needed to learn. Eventually, I just took notes on paper if necessary but mostly in the margins of my text, circling and starring things for future reference.

At home, I would open the text and find the example problem. I would write out the example problem in my notebook. Then I would try to solve it. When I got stuck I would formulate my question. What do you do right here? Then I would look back at the text to find the answer to my question. Armed with the new answer, I would restart the problem on a new page. When I had mastered the example questions I would do all the examples and then the problem sets. After each problem, I would look up the answer, and if it was wrong I would do it again until I got it right. I knew I had mastered the questions when I could invent my own problem and solve it with confidence, using some mathematical proof to verify my solution.

So here are the steps I used

  1. Attempt a problem I didn’t know how to do, but for which I did have a solution.
  2. Get stuck and formulate a question.
  3. Find the answer to my question in the available solution. Sometimes at this stage, it is helpful or even necessary to find extra help.
  4. Master the example. Try more examples.
  5. Find a problem set with answers.
  6. Attempt each problem and check the answers. Re-do until the answer was correct.
  7. Mastery is when you can create your own problems and solve them.

I have a lot more to say about how to learn Math but it will have to wait for future newsletters.

Happy Learning

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

These are some of your best days

Make hay while the sun shines! The problem is recognizing that the sun is shining. If you are not facing any immediate travel or circumstances likely to affect learning, then the sun is shining. Winter is very sunny so make lots of hay. Soon it will be spring and the children will want to be outside. These next two months are some of the best for learning. 

Dates and Links:  

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Science– Something You Do

Science: Something You Do

What is science?

Over the past two newsletters, I have been writing about science.

Scientists observe the universe to be uneven (anisotropic).

This newsletter is about Science—the curricular subject. Science has a split personality. Science is a body of knowledge about nature. It is about nature, not everything there is to know about nature, for there is much we know about nature that is not scientific but still very very true. Nature is the created universe. It includes everything

 

from stars to starfish, and emus to electrons. In 1968 the Canadian National Film board made an amazing video called “Cosmic Zoom”. I was certainly riveted by it. It’s eight minutes long. A new cosmic zoom demonstrates some of what has been learned since. There is however pacing and esthetic in the older version that has yet to be transcended. Watch them with your children.

Scientists gather data on a community of plants

But science is more than a body of knowledge, it is also a method to gather that knowledge. The method starts with thinking about it. When you think you know what is true you are ready to begin the scientific method, which is to check it by observing. Observing includes all the senses. It includes measurements and data collection of every kind. Observations involve devices of every sort ranging from telescopes to magnetometers. If a scientist makes observations or obtains data that match what he or she thought would happen, then they write a report for other scientists to try it too. If lots of scientists get the same answer, then it’s a scientific consensus and it becomes part of the body of knowledge we call science.

Admittedly, it isn’t always so cut and dried, but that’s a general idea. The scientist doesn’t know anything for sure unless they can produce observations, usually lots of observations, to back it up. When we talk about lots of observations, we mean data. If you have lots of observations you have to record them. So, a scientist will keep a lab book. There you will find notes on what they are trying to learn by thinking about nature and then checking it by observation.

How to fill a balloon with gas from a bottle.

One of the most important ways to make observations is by doing experiments. Another way is to make scientific demonstrations and models. Learners and homeschooling parents often confuse these. When we play with magnets and observe how they attract and repel we could call that a demonstration. We might put vinegar in a bottle, add baking soda, and capture the fizz in a balloon.  We might even use what’s in the balloon to blow out a candle. This is very cool. It is well worth doing and worth writing down to tell the story, but it not an experiment. It is a good way to make observations, but might still argue about what caused the candle to go out.

Modeling is also quite useful as a way to gather observations. Perhaps you are wondering why some caves are impossible to explore without bringing oxygen to breathe. So you make a small cave. Inside a bottle, which is our 'cave', we add some powdered lime (Calcium Carbonate) to stand for the limestone and add water that has been soaking in peat moss to stand for the groundwater around the cave. You have a model of the cave in your bottle. You may be able to put a match inside the bottle to stand for the life of a person. You could see what happens. Another example of a model could be to model your community’s electrical grid on a half sheet of plywood using wires, batteries, and bulbs. This would be a model of the electrical grid.

An experiment, however, is a special way to make observations. Next week I will write about the controlled experiment. Controlled experiments are one more way to add to the body of knowledge we call science.

Nature is a magical and wonderful subject of exploration. It is both a body of knowledge and a method. To use any scientific method is a skill which needs building over time. So, study your science, but do your science as well, for science is more something you do, like Art, than something you know. If you work hard on your other subjects in the winter, science is great in the spring. Happy learning.

 

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

These are some of your best days

Make hay while the sun shines! The problem is recognizing that the sun is shining. If you are not facing any immediate travel or circumstances likely to affect learning, then the sun is shining. Winter is very sunny so make lots of hay. Soon it will be spring and the children will want to be outside. These next two months are some of the best for learning. 

Dates and Links:  

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Wisdom and Science

Science: The Wisdom of our Time

If Social Studies can be enjoyed through the wonderful book “From Adam to Us”, then perhaps, if we think of Science that way, it is the wonderful book, yet to be written, entitled “From Atoms to Us”. This book started when 3000 years ago King David penned, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament his handiwork. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they reveal knowledge".

As a youth, I memorized that Psalm, Psalm 19, because it was something of a watchword for a young student of Science whose faith was firmly planted in Biblical revelation of Jesus Christ. This Psalm lays out two sources of revelation about God. The text begins with a soaring and inspiring language about the greatness of God as revealed in nature. Even now as I reflect on it, the words of “How Great Thou Art” come to mind. Thus go the first six verses, but then in verse 7 suddenly, it seems, without missing a beat or shifting gears the psalmist continues to declare, “The Torah of the YHWH is perfect, restoring the soul. The testimony [revelation] of YHWH is pure, making wise the simple”. Making wise the simple… indeed… but I digress... the point being, here in a single passage we have Biblical support for both General and Special Revelation.

Jesus himself breaks the scriptures down into the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Writings are the Bible's Wisdom Literature: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. These are the books of the Bible that explore the world-as-experienced or General Revelation. Ecclesiastes 1:7 says, “All the rivers flow into the sea, Yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again”. In other words, somehow there must be a water cycle. It should not be lost on us that such statements are valuable enough to go into the Bible.

Wisdom literature is gritty and real, not shirking from hard questions but also reveling in simple observations. Among the many themes, there is there is the theme of Wisdom itself. So profoundly is it valued that it becomes personified in Proverbs 8, which later the New Testament draws upon to describe Jesus as the Wisdom of God.  Set this down first, we read, "Get Wisdom". And then we are told, “the fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom”; in other words, when you seek wisdom consider your starting point.  And so we may ask, what is science but the wisdom of our time? The cure for bad wisdom isn’t ignorance of it; but rather, to seek it more.  And thus we are enjoined by the Bible's wisdom literature to value wisdom, to seek wisdom with all our hearts.  So for now, I’ll leave you with Proverbs 4:5-9

Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.

Dates and Resources

Leaving Money on the Table

Everyone is aware of HCOS funding for learning resources. If for any reason you don't need all of it, there's nothing wrong with leaving it for others. It's a shared table and HCOS counts on the fact that few people spend every dime in their accounts. That said, it's wise to be deliberate about it, rather than missing the deadlines. My classroom experience matches my HCOS experience: conclude spending for the current year by the end of March. That leaves room for error and emergencies. Spend only what you need and leave the rest, but don't just procrastinate past the deadline. That's not good for learners.

  1. Recommended date to conclude spending: March 30
  2. Funding opens for 2019-2020 school year: approx. April 30
  3. Deadline for purchasing outside of Canada: May 1
  4. Deadline for all resource purchasing: May 15
  5. Purchasing Department shutdown: May 15

Note also: This is the last year for internet reimbursements.

These are some of your best days

Make hay while the sun shines! The problem is recognizing that the sun is shining. If you are not facing any immediate travel or circumstances likely to affect learning, then the sun is shining. Winter is very sunny so make lots of hay. Soon it will be spring and the children will want to be outside. These next two months are some of the best for learning. 

Dates and Links:  

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

Feb 22 to March 11: Rob Focussed on Report Cards

March 18- 29 Spring Break

April 19-22 Easter

April 23 to 30 CHEC (Convention in Kelowna)

 

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

The Girl Who Thought There Are Two Earths

Science: The Girl Who Thought There Are Two Earths

I have visited Kindergarten classrooms and sometimes I get to play with the kids. I like to get to sit on the floor with the kids. One teacher was reading from a kid’s book that was all about the earth. There was one student who seemed particularly well engaged, so I asked her what she was learning. She made big eyes and said, “I am learning about the earth that is round”. I thought, what an odd way to phrase it. I thought about it later. She didn’t say she learned that the earth on which she was presently standing was round, she learned there was something out there that was round called “the earth”. Perhaps she thought there were two earths: one on which she stood, and one that was the topic in school.

It can be amazing how little people remember their Science education. Of all the subjects, Science is the one that many people never integrate into common sense. And that’s too bad. I’ve embarrassed too many friends by asking them how long it takes the earth to go around the sun. I can’t think of a more basic science question. Half don't know. Turns out that if you ask kids in school, nearly all have the answer: the earth orbits the sun and it takes a year because that’s how we get our year. But they forget because the sun and the earth in that story are just answers they give in school. Perhaps they haven't really believed it. 

Homeschoolers have a distinct advantage because they have many more opportunities to try out what they are learning in daily life. We always say this about preaching at church; that, it’s no good if you don’t “apply it”. So, my charge to all of you who are schooling at home, be sure to look for ways to apply what you know. Try asking “so what?”. The earth is round… so what? It means a 2-meter-high sailboat will vanish over the horizon in about 10Km. Unless of course, you’re swimming in the ocean, in which case it will vanish in 5Km. Keep in mind, “so what” is an open-ended question. All the books in the world couldn’t hold all the answers. The idea is to get one you can support. 

Ten Rules for all learning that work  particularly well in Science: 

  1. It is the learner who learns, you can’t do it for them. and they have to do it their own way.
  2. Learning must build on prior knowledge.
  3. There’s nothing like an aha moment when the learner connects the dots and gets it.
  4. True learning requires concepts and skills in balance with each other. Too much rote knowledge is easily forgotten; skills alone lack application.
  5. Learners need to see both the big picture and the details. Some like to start from the details and then see how it fits later. Some like to start from the big picture and zoom in on details. Personally, I like to start from the big picture, zoom in quickly, and then work from the details back out to the big picture and see how it has changed.
  6. Pace matters. Don’t go too fast, we all have our speed limit. Mine is quite slow for my level of attainment. But I know slow and steady does the job. Lack of diligence over time is a disaster. Diligence over time is what leads to success in true learning. If it helps, it's okay to leave something and come back to it later.
  7. Motivation is not the motor of learning. Motivation develops from and then contributes to learning. Expect to be proud of your work? You’ll find the motivation. A safe and secure social environment is vital to learning. Quality for relationships is one of the main predictors of learning.
  8. Learners must learn to know that they know.
  9. Learners should choose to transfer what they know from one context to another.
  10. There's no miracle substitute for time and effort.

 

 

Dates and Resources

Make hay while the sun shines! The problem is recognizing that the sun is shining. If you are not facing any immediate travel or circumstances likely to affect learning, then the sun is shining. Winter is very sunny so make lots of hay. Soon it will be spring and the children will want to be outside. These next two months are some of the best for learning. 

Dates and Links:  

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

 

Social Studies

Social Studies

Social Studies may be one of the most difficult subjects to teach at home. What is it really about? Social Studies starts with idea that we are not alone. As individuals, we have our own identity and contribute to our communities at various levels. The nuclear family is one such level, as is our local neighborhood, village or city. There are provincial, national, and global communities as well, all of which are influenced by the physical environment, including climate, natural resources, rivers, mountains, and oceans.

To study social studies is to learn about ourselves in relation to our communities. When we learn Social Studies, we want to learn to think carefully about ourselves, the people around us, and how we govern our actions such that we can live together. We learn to understand so that we can explain why things are as they are, how actions have consequences, and how our own beliefs and values guide us into becoming better friends and citizens. We want to learn how to decide if something is good or bad—that is, to make value judgments using evidence rather than prejudice and reason rather than bias

When we see ourselves in relation to our communities we may want to know the story of how things became the way they are. We must learn how to be good citizens, participating in democracy and able to weigh the issues. We begin to study history with a view to understanding why we live the way we do. In particular, we want to understand why we live among First Nations peoples. We want to learn how material resources, for example, led to change over time. History is really a small part of Social Studies and is really only the focus in Grades 7 to 9.

As we study Social Studies, we want to gain study and thinking skills: to demonstrate why things happen, to reflect on what it means today, and to analyze how things may have been caused. We want to use our knowledge to learn to appreciate others even when we don’t necessarily agree with them. We can learn how to use our minds to solve problems that come about as a result of living together. When we see that others are different it truly helps to understand why. Indeed, God did and does love the world. He has put us here as change-agents, ready in mind and spirit to bring about its transformation. For this, we need clear minds and strong hearts. We must know ourselves and we must know how others.

Dates and Resources

My main job during this part of the year is to review your samples and provide feedback. The more samples you send the more you get service you get from Rob. I look in SeeSaw each morning and respond to everything I see. 

Dates and Links: November 23-- Term Ends

February 22 Term Two cutoff for submissions to SeeSaw

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources