to blog or not to blog

black-eyed-susan

I went almost a year without blogging. In many ways, it was an experiment in privacy. I had become self-conscious about the idea that my own thoughts might be worth sharing, and hesitant about putting them out. I wasn’t completely private. I can’t stop writing, so I took to writing more on facebook in long friends-only posts. There I encountered the problem that facebook is more a place people go to express themselves than a place where people are willing to put time and energy into reading slowly enough to comprehend what someone else is saying. I had a number Continue reading

politics in Gulliver’s Travels

I’m reading Gulliver’s Travels again right now and wanted to share this excerpt from when Gulliver is explaining about British government to the king of the giants: He then desired to know, what Arts were practiced in electing those whom I called Commoners. Whether, a Stranger with a strong Purse might not influence the vulgar Voters to chuse him before their own Landlord, or the most considerable Gentlemen in the Neighborhood. How it came to pass, that People were so violently bent upon getting into this assembly, which I allowed to be a great Trouble and Expense, often to the Continue reading

reading 18th century history, reflecting on today

I’ve been reading about various wars in North America during the 1700s. Several things stand out to me. One is the idea that the governments were not able to control their people. Native elders were not able to prevent individual or small groups of native warriors from going off and killing colonists, and the colonists were unable to prevent individuals from going off and killing natives. The acts of individuals were then used to justify the acts of more individuals and of governments. The second thing is that the elites were manipulating everyone into war. Before the American Revolution, the Continue reading

using an incomplete knowledge of Shakespeare for meaningful discussion

I have written before about reading Shakespeare with kids so they gain some familiarity with the stories and another time I wrote about reading it with kids as part of discussion on language and exploring complex ideas. Today I write about yet another reason to read Shakespeare with children. Today my argument is that Shakespeare gives us a chance to look at the incompleteness of our own knowledge and what scholarship means. We get to do that, all while enjoying the works of a master who filled his works with such amazing jokes and clever ideas. A few years ago Continue reading

Minecraft Math Non-Player Characters

NPCs add a new dimension to my minecraft math class

This year I have been experimenting with a new tool for my minecraft math class. The tool is called Beton Quest and it is a plugin for my server. Paired with a second plugin called Citizens it allows me to create NPCs (Non Player Characters) that my students can interact with. The Non Player Characters look like normal minecraft characters – like players, villagers, animals or monsters – but when a person clicks on a NPC a little text conversation begins. The player gets to see a number of multiple choice responses which he or she can click on or Continue reading

making peace

As a child one of my favourite records was one produced by the Mennonite Central Committee. It was called “I can make peace” and it had a mix of stories and songs. One of the stories was about a family getting up to go to school and how one person’s grumpiness was passed on to the next person until even a friend’s family was affected, but then the reverse happens where someone’s joyfulness is passed on person to person. One story was about an elephant family. The stories and songs start off focused on families and move out to talking Continue reading

staying involved in activism while focusing on the homeschooling

The election is over and I am trying to think again about how I can be involved in making change in the world. I would like to be involved in one of the local organizations but I cannot see that happening right now. I withdrew from the anti-poverty organization I used to be involved with some time ago because it moved in a direction I didn’t like. I am teaching minecraft math on Monday evenings and I don’t want to take more than the one evening a week away from my family. Then the kids are old enough I find Continue reading

PMOs office vetting refugees – not a good idea.

(The following is a guest post by my husband, James. –Christy) When I first heard this morning about the PMOs office “vetting” refugee claimants from Syria, I was struck by how much of their information was being passed around the bureaucracy, as indicated by the Globe and Mail story. “The Prime Minister’s Office asked Citizenship and Immigration for the files of some Syrian refugees so they could be vetted by the PMO – potentially placing political staff with little training in refugee matters in the middle of an already complex process. PMO staff could have also had access to files Continue reading

Voter Suppression Measures and Canadian Elections

Stop Harper Resource Page

I’m reading Michael Harris’ book Party of One. I’m not very far in it but is plenty of interesting information in it. It helps to see how the effort to make elections buyable goes right back to Stephen Harper’s beginning. When Stephen Harper first got a seat in the government it was as a Reform politician, and his campaign benefited from the National Citizen’s Coalition (NCC) putting $50,000 against his opponent, because his opponent was in favor of third-party spending limits in elections. Harper would later work for the NCC. In 2004, just two years before becoming Prime Minister, Harper went to the Supreme Continue reading

#BarbaricCulturalPractices

Stop Harper Resource Page

Just when I think this election can’t get more disgusting, it gets more disgusting. Apparently the Conservatives want to take a tip from the Spanish Inquisition, when neighbours court report each other. (Did you know that during the Spanish Inquisition Christians of Muslim descent were required to leave their doors open on Thursday evenings and Friday mornings to prove to their neighbours that they weren’t bathing? Because you know, that was considered a ‪#‎barbaricculturalpractice‬.) This isn’t about domestic violence. If Harper wanted he could announce more funding or domestic violence shelters and for programs for victims of domestic violence. But Continue reading