We do not, and cannot, know everything and sometimes there is no substitute for face to face or personalized instruction – particularly for sports.
This is an area where we wish that there were better online tools for learning. Instead, Connor has a tutor who comes a couple of times a week, for a couple of hours to work with him on his Chinese, particularly reading and writing, which are by far the hardest aspects for a native English speaker.
The tools that are available here for teaching this are very traditional in their approach and advocate forced rote learning – unfortunately, despite the research showing better approaches, not much has yet been built to support a more modern approach and so Connor is largely stuck learning Chinese the same way that Chinese children have been for thousands of years.
We have recently supported some Kickstarters promising to modernize this approach and we are hopeful that they will become tools that we can discuss in more detail.
One of Connor’s favourite times of the week is when he meets with his creative writing tutor, Robert.
Very early on in homeschooling Connor said that he wanted to work on this area, as he enjoys writing and would like to one day write a book. We engaged Robert to tutor him and Connor could not be happier.
This is one area of Connor’s education where we do no supervision and ask no questions – it is entirely for his own learning and enjoyment and I think that that is a large part of why Connor loves these lessons. Connor meets Robert in a nearby cafe every week for a couple of hours and they do whatever they do.
Although we do not see any of the work that he does with Robert, we have noticed a very marked improvement in Connor’s writing ability.
Robert himself is an interesting and smart guy.who was born and raised in California. Despite a deep interest in genetics and biology (BS Micriobiology and Genetics, UCLA) he ended up taking the legal path and exploring intellectual property law and contracts (JD, Georgetown University Law Center).
Robert is currently residing in Taiwan, aspiring to be a writer, and offering very individualized English and creative writing tutoring, either face to face or via Skype.
Fair warning – Robert is clever , cynical and sarcastic and does not tolerate fools easily. Whilst he often works with unmotivated students (a fact of teaching I guess), his strong preference is for highly motivated students and he goes well above and beyond for them.
If you are after a really excellent English/writing/creative writing tutor, then you can contact Robert directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +886 9 7807 1570.
Martial Arts and Physical Development
I have studied a wide variety of martial arts over the last thirty years and this has now become a shared passion with Connor. He has been studying Tae Kwon Do for about five years, here, in Korea and in Australia. For most of that five years he has done at least five lessons a week.
In addition to these regular lessons he (and often I) have also studied with two men in particular who should be singled out. Both of them are fantastic with kids, have had a life-long passion for both martial arts and body development and are at the top of their fields and both are genuinely among the nicest people you could ever meet. Maybe knowing that you can be deadly in a fight promotes humility, because both of them are humble almost to a fault. So let me instead tell you about them.
Richard is a three-time Olympic athlete (short-track speed skating) and was a member of the relay team that won the first ever medal for Australia at a Winter Olympics.
After retiring from speed skating he moved into athlete development and has built up a formidable reputation, particularly in the world of golf, where he works with golfers to build the physical attributes that they need for continued success. He travels all over the world for his professional golfing clients, in addition to coaching a number of golf development teams aimed at creating future professional golfers.
In addition to this, Richard is a long-time Kung Fu instructor.
If you have a child who is serious about building up their sporting capability and you are in a position to be able to afford the best, then you should talk to Richard about what he can do for you. I have used Richard’s services extensively myself, both to support my (totally non-professional!) golf interest and also intensively in Kung Fu (privately for about three years, up to five days a week). We have also engaged him in both of these areas for Connor, with great success.
You can reach Richard through his website at: www.GolfFitSolutions.com
Simon is currently based in Taiwan, although originally hailing from Britain. He travels quite frequently to train with the best instructors around the world and to meet up and train with students taking his online courses.
Simon has studied a wide variety of martial arts intensively, for most of his life. He is someone who has done the live in the Dojo thing, training ten hours a day every day and cleaning the Dojo and instructing in return for room, board and training. He has trained in just about every country in Asia with a serious martial arts system. He has so many instructor certifications etc that it is meaningless listing them – Simon is someone who knows what he is doing.
Coupled with this serious martial arts background however is a very profound knowledge of body development that he uses to take his instruction to a whole other level. Simon mainly teaches using three methods: private tuition if you are lucky enough to be here in Taiwan; intensive courses and through online instruction, coupled with personalized instruction via Skype.
Simon is excellent with kids and Connor enjoys his lessons with him, however I should point out that this is not for students looking for a normal McDojo kids martial arts school. Simon is serious about imparting his knowledge and he does expect his students to also be serious about learning – which is not the same as saying lessons are not fun – they are!
You can connect with Simon via his very active Face Book group: Silat Combatatives Group