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Comment Opinion from experience (Score 1) 700

As I browsed a bit through the comments, I see mostly replies from either people who have no experience of home schooling or others who are parents home schooling their kids. However, I would like to add my own experience as a child who has experienced almost all types of popular educational methods. I've been to public schools, private schools, correspondence schools, and even college as a replacement for high school. I was also home schooled for a number of years. So here's my story of each method:

From pre-school to first grade, I was in two different private schools. Now, of course, I can't judge much of the academics here since I was so young, but I can judge stress levels. This whole time era was stressful for me due to the quite strict nature of the second private school I attended. If my parents didn't move me out of there, I'm not sure how long I would have lasted.

From first grade to fourth, I was in three different public schools. I loved first and second grade. I learned, played, and just enjoyed everything about it. But, by third grade, the school system decided to try a whole new system of learning. I don't remember the full details, but it involved a complete rework of everything I was used to already. I balked at this change and my parents eventually forced the school to put me in a class that still used the old method. By fourth grade, we had moved so I had to attend a different school. I just couldn't fit with their educational method, and my parents were still frustrated from the last issue a year before. Thus then began a leap into home schooling.

For the rest of fourth grade, my parents bought a preset curriculum and associated books. This didn't end well as neither of my parents had college degrees and since this required quite a bit of hands on work from them, I got frustrated at them.

Starting fifth grade, my parents found, at the time, a totally new way to do home schooling. It was a correspondence school where the school sent everything required and vhs tapes of a licensed teacher in an actual classroom. It was like I was there but didn't have to deal with the nonsense of actually being there. Plus, I got to go as fast or slow over the material as I wanted. This gave me so much freedom that I really enjoyed learning and just kept going.

By the time high school was approaching, the correspondence school just wasn't cutting it enough for me. I wanted more without the wastes of time that it required. And, since this was now the dawn of online versions of everything, my parents signed me up for an online school. But for me, this still seemed pedantic and generally not very engaging.

After frustrating my parents for so long at this point, they worked with the local community college and got me enrolled, full time, at 15 years old. This basically replaced my high school years, and interestingly enough this didn't cause much of an issue of not having any prerequisite knowledge from high school. It goes to show you how much college repeats the same info in high school, especially for the lower level classes. I also absolutely loved this time as I was able to dive deep into learning all that I wanted.

So, here's my opinion of each method:

Private and public schooling can be stressful both from the system itself and from other classmates. Even though I can't comment on bullying as I never was, the stress from the system caused me issues. And not having the freedom to learn the way I wanted would have hindered me. Socializing in this format didn't happen a whole lot for me. I always kept one or two close friends and that was it.

Standard home schooling didn't work for us. But, I can see it working well with parents with better education. Of course, I do think there needs to be a good relationship between the parents and the child or none of this will work well.

However, the correspondence school is an awesome option for parents who either don't have a great education or aren't up to the challenge of making or following a curriculum. It also gives the child awesome freedom on how they want to proceed. It also allows the parents to easily supplement what they want to do in between the classes. I would figure now there are some very good online schools that do similar things unlike the one I tried.

Now, socializing with these methods can be easy. Of course there are neighborhood children, but there are also home school groups meant specifically for this purpose. Even though I attended such groups, I found myself more drawn to the company of adults and acted like an adult at a much earlier age, which allowed me to easily attend college at 15.

I also think getting your child into a junior college at a young age is really useful. It gives them experience of a more public education but without the pedantic nature of high school. It also allows them to dive in deeper than what could be provided elsewhere.

So, all in all, home schooling can be tricky and requires a lot of cooperation from your child and closely watching how they are progressing. There are plenty of different options for parents now looking for ways to home school their child which will make it easier to find something to suit your needs. And, in the end, I definitely recommend home schooling if done correctly.

Comment Seems about right (Score 1) 46

Being a former USPS employee, this just seems about right. The USPS, at least at the local post office level, has a mismatch of crazy tight security or almost nothing at all. I mean everything is watched (or believed to be watched) at the post office, but then once your mail leaves the office, the carrier can do practically anything he or she wants to do with it. Of course there's laws against this, but still, there's no security, nothing, once the truck leaves the office. No GPS, no cameras, nothing. And if you're a rural carrier, no one inspects your vehicle to make sure you cleared all mail from it. So this type mismatched security probably follows upward to the higher offices.

Comment Re:Will they just pull the words, and ask... (Score 4, Insightful) 451

Bit of a disclaimer: I live in Kentucky and have run multiple small businesses here so I know a thing or two about the State Gov't.

Generally, the state doesn't do much in making sure things run as the law says it should (well, except for taxes, they're quite up on that). But, they most definitely do get involved when complaints are made. This is a pretty big profile thing and I bet they'll keep an eye on it. I also can see quite a number of disbelievers applying for job positions just to get rejected to then make a complaint. This might really bite them in the butt in the end, which I personally would like to see. This is bordering on religious support from the gov't.

Comment Re:This is a really useless idea (Score 1) 131

Yup, yup, had to do plenty of that during my tenure. Though, seriously, there's plenty of crazy packages that get sent through USPS directly that are kinda tough on the poor carrier. I remember somebody shipped a concrete statue (yes, we're talking about a 70lb statue here which is the upper weight limit for them), and I had to carry the thing up a flight of steps in the middle of winter with ice on the ground. I was really kinda surprised I made it without flying down the steps with a concrete statue landing on my head. Actually, I was kinda glad I had the statue and not carrier that usually ran that route. I don't think she could have done it.

Comment This is a really useless idea (Score 4, Interesting) 131

Ok, for a bit of reference, I was a rural mail carrier for awhile. And from being a carrier and talking with fellow carriers after being one I can tell you people don't really send much first class mail anymore. The USPS is now basically converting into the last mile run carrier of packages, both originating from their system and both Fedex and UPS's systems. The local post office I've worked at has at times not been able to handle the sheer volume increase of packages. Now, if people want to ship packages, they can already print their own postage off their computers so this device does nothing for that (and there's plenty of bulk label creation systems for larger shippers which is what I do now). The other fairly large user of the USPS is advertisers using bulk mail rates and they won't use a device like this since they already have permits. So I see little use for this.

Comment Re:Cost (Score 1) 550

Also, having worn glasses for so long I've gotten used to the built in "objects flying at my eye" protection they offer. My glasses have caught more than a few flying objects and/or children's fingers.

That is so incredibly true with myself as well. I can't count the number of times I would have to go to the hospital to remove something from my eyes. (And the time I did wear proper eye protection, I ended up getting concrete dust in an eye when removing the safety goggles as the dust was sitting on the goggles. I had to get the stuff scraped out, not fun at all.)

Plus, I absolutely love having transition lenses. Nothing beats having automatic sunglasses while outside. Then, of course, they'd probably have to knock me out to perform the surgery, as I have a real hard time letting anything near my eyes. With that concrete dust, I needed three nurses to hold my eye open. . .

Comment Re:What with all the other debris? (Score 1) 200

I agree as I actually seen an almost pretty bad accident this 4th with amateur fireworks. Since it's legal to shoot off amateur mortars in this state, at least half the households here were shooting them off this year. The neighbor behind us had something go wrong and the mortar went a partially curved trajectory and ended up hitting a power line which caused it to redirect straight for where my other neighbor was shooting his fireworks off. Of course it exploded when it hit the ground and if he was there at that time, it would have been pretty bad.

Comment Re:or don't trust the Internet (Score 1) 191

I do have to add there's a few more attack venues than just at the receiving end of a check payment. There is literally no security at your mailbox, and practically nothing in the mail trucks that pick up your checks. Anyone can take the check right out of the box, and everyone knows something's in there with the little flag being up. And then there's no cameras or security in the mail trucks themselves. Besides federal law, there's nothing stopping a carrier from pocketing a check, which I think is pretty unfortunate. Your best bet if paying by check is to deposit the envelopes directly at the Post Office. There's plenty of security inside the office and processing centers that at least there's a much less chance of anything happening once inside the system.

Comment Re:simple (Score 1) 113

The USPS has been swapping in LLVs for owner owned vehicles, but usually that only goes for routes that are under 25 miles or so and have a large number of boxes. My main route was one of these, consisting close to 25 miles with 750 boxes. What seems to be happening is what was considered 'rural' back 15 years ago isn't really rural anymore but is still being delivered by rural carriers. So in higher density areas, they're turning what was traditionally a real rural route into a sort of city/rural route with LLVs. I do have to say there is generally a fight with the carriers to get them to go over to LLVs. Most like to use their own vehicles because they're more comfortable, ie air conditioning and just better interiors. Plus, them dang LLVs are horrible in the snow with rear wheel drive and non-equal axle spacing (front tires are closer together than back for easier maneuverability around cars in good weather) vs a true 4 wheel drive jeep. It's quite fun trying to stick mail in a box while you slide by it.

Comment Re:First-class mail down but parcels up (Score 2) 113

I can't give much perspective from the city carrier side, but as a former rural carrier, I didn't see much push to violate safety protocols from management. Actually, my manager was particularly up on new safety info coming from higher up and made sure we all knew about it once a week. However, I do have to say a few things on the incentives to break safety codes. All rural carriers are paid via route evaluations. So, if your route evaluates for 8.5 hours to complete, you will get paid for 8.5 hours no matter how fast or slow it takes you to complete it. So, the faster you complete, the 'more' you get paid per hour and the chance to help other carriers complete routes if there's problems. I had a time where I finished my route early and worked on a second route while still being under the evaluated time for the first route. So I was getting paid twice, evaluated time for the first route, hourly for the second. That really brings an incentive to get your route done as fast as possible despite safety rules or accuracy.

Comment Re:simple (Score 2) 113

Actually, the rural runs aren't that particularly expensive to the USPS. I was once a rural carrier, and most rural routes actually require the driver to use his/her own vehicle (with a paid stipend on vehicle use). This is actually a cheaper arrangement for the USPS than sending LLVs around. Plus, with the rural routes, you don't get that much of a drop in box count. They just add more miles to your route. The PO I worked for had a rural route that had over 100 miles on it.

Comment Re:22.6 billion pieces..... (Score 2) 113

Nah, 'bulk' mail is never sent first class. They got a rate class of their own, usually marked as 'standard'. Having a bit of inside knowledge of the post office as a former carrier, I can definitely say they make a pretty penny on all that bulk mail. This is why they won't do anything that would disrupt that revenue stream especially with the massive drop in first class (which was mostly comprised of business correspondence, ie bills and checks going back and forth).

Comment US Mail Carriers Rejoice, Maybe (Score 1) 113

As a former rural carrier, I can tell you those blasted scanners the USPS gives the carriers are a total pain. They can't scan barcodes in full sunlight, which is absolutely crazy considering we're either outside or in a truck that has full windows. So next time watch your poor mail carrier try to scan your next package, especially if there isn't a cloud in the sky. You'll see us try to hide the thing in the shade, move the scanner around, and generally get aggravated at it. Something like NFC would be a godsend if its implemented correctly. Of course, however, how much of a chance is it that the USPS would actually implement it correctly?

Comment Re:Shame this happened (Score 1) 136

There's actually a bit more to this. As a really avid home grower (albeit, getting closer and closer to actually selling some stuff), I've seen another type of patent that growers need to watch for, besides just the GMO stuff. It's called plant variety protection. Now PVP IP is definitely less restrictive than general patents, but it is still another hurdle that growers need to look out for. Also, as described in that wikipedia article, there are true plant patents for asexually produced varieties. I've seen this specifically when buying raspberries. They had clear warnings on them that the variety was patented and no reproduction of the plants were allowed, though exactly how that is suppose to be accomplished I have no idea since raspberries spread and reproduce greatly on their own. And, btw, these patented plants can all be readily purchased through home grower catalogs, and there's a lot more of these patents and PVP than you would think. You also don't need to sign any licensing paper. The patented varieties are basically EULA licensed for home grower/non propagator use only. And also to clear up a bit of a gray issue, you definitely can replant seed from F1 hybrids. They will grow and not have any crazy seed termination stuff that Monsanto was playing with. The only thing is you won't really get the vigor and some of the other properties of the F1 even if you make sure there is no cross pollination between varieties. And if you play with it enough, you might even be able to gleam a new heirloom variety from the F1 after stabilizing the genetics via standard plant breeding tactics.

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