Canadian pioneer poems

Reading Between the Lines: Piecing together the life of Elizabeth Boyd McDougall

The Canadian Homeschool Blog hop this month is on the theme of Canadian books and resources. Over my couple of years of blogging I’ve listed a few Canadian books, such as Melanie Bluelake’s Dream, Caribou Songs, Shannen’s Dream for a School and a collection of books about Northern Canada. Today I want to write about a poetry book, called Reading Between the Lines: Piecing together the life of Elizabeth Boyd McDougall by Shirley A Serviss. Elizabeth Boyd McDougall was the second wife of John McDougall, a Methodist missionary in the prairies. The poems start with her journeying out to the west with her Continue reading

saying `gifted` is never just one thing.

The Gifted Homeschoolers Forum blog hop for this month is titled “How do you say ‘gifted’?”  I will admit that despite having been part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum community for a couple of years now, it is still hard for me to say the word “gifted.” There is an element in which it is easier to say a child is gifted if one can qualify it by talking about the challenges that giftedness brings. Giftedness does bring lots of challenges. Celi at Crushing Tall Poppies talks a bit about some of those challenges in her post “My Child is Gifted: Continue reading

Automatic Minecraft Castle

making an instant minecraft castle

This post explains how to build a minecraft castle using the fill and clone commands. The first part is a very simple tutorial on the commands themselves, while the second part explains how to use the commands to build the castle. If you are familiar with the commands already skip to the second part of the post. Fill and Clone Basics Minecraft coordinates are written out as sets of three numbers. For example: 6 5 9. The middle coordinate (the y one) tells you how high the location is. A positive x coordinate tells you how far east you are Continue reading

Pirates… one opportunity lost, but all is not gone…

Pirate Facebook Group

The pirate course I have been working on did not succeed in attracting enough students, so it has been cancelled for the semester, and I will focus my energy on creating a book version of it. As I work on the book, I want to invite others to learn a bit more about pirates on a new facebook group I’ve made: “Pirates & History for Homeschooling.” There I will share little bits of what I am learning, links to online resources, book suggestions and questions I am still searching for answers on, and I will invite others to share links Continue reading

a big muddle of things that come together, sort of, at the end

Lots of things have crossed my facebook feed the last few days that feed somehow into questions I tend to dwell on. These are questions about how we know what we know, whether we can trust our own ideas, and whether telling someone they are wrong is inherently being mean. Thing one: a math fail My confidence in homeschoolers and homeschooling took a strange shake the other day when I saw a woman online offering some pizza pictures for parents to use to teach fractions. The problem was her pizzas were all cut into eighths in thin lines and then Continue reading

images of giftedness

Images of Giftedness?

I’ve started watching West Wing again, this time with my oldest son. We’re only a few episodes in and one of the things that hits me in a different way this time around are the jokes about President Bartlet being too smart. The second episode has the president using the phrase “post hoc, ergo propter hoc,” and then asking the people in the room to tell him what it means. The deputy chief of staff attempts to translate it directly and then fumbling the chief of staff explains the meaning of the phrase as a whole. It struck me as Continue reading

dreaming of a good government…

I am withdrawing from an organization I have been very involved in for about three years. There is some sadness to leaving and some relief. This whole last half a year I’ve been stepping back big by bit. I wrote during the summer about my difficulty trying to care about things while still maintaining the emotional calm necessary for caring for the kids. Worries about the issues – poverty, environment, violence, destruction of democracy, etc – are hard enough. On top of that there is another challenge, that of trying to find efficient, effective methods of creating change. Different people Continue reading

Homeschooling in Winter

winter fun

I love winter, as long as my car will start. Yesterday I ended up at the library with a dead battery, so I had to walk around asking people if they would mind boosting my car. I had booster cables; that was a plus but I have trouble asking for favors. Yesterday I could work on teaching the kids to stay calm in stressful situations and to not be afraid to ask for help. As long as my car will start, I can take the kids to the toboggan hill. My city has gone through a little crisis over whether Continue reading

picture books as writing prompts

I like to look for library books that are easy to expand and build off of. I like books that the can be turned into games, philosophy discussions, or writing prompts. The following are two that are easy to use for writing prompts for children. Links from the book titles are affiliate links. Unnatural Selections by Wallace Edwards This book contains a series of pictures showing fantastical mixed up creatures like a whalephant. For each two page spread there is a couplet about the featured creature, its name and what two or more animals it is based off of. The Continue reading

School supplies for Christmas?


“Poor kids,” one of my brothers said to me on the phone, “they get a whole semester’s worth of schoolwork as Christmas gifts.” That wasn’t quite accurate. They didn’t get a whole semester’s worth of schoolwork. In fact, they don’t realize they got any schoolwork for Christmas. Certainly I didn’t get them any schoolwork – unless you count the lego motors I’m hoping they’ll practice some engineering skills with. They also received some science books, a blanket with the periodic table, some lego gears, and a cookbook. I received a trilogy of Star Wars books rewritten in quasi-Shakespearean style and Continue reading