fed up with public bullying

Sometimes the internet sucks. I was thinking about this the other day when I noticed a letter to the editor in my local newspaper had garnered what seemed to me unnecessarily nasty comments. The letter was about a local election issue (deregulation of store hours) and in the comment section people were saying that the letter-writer should move to a different country, that she was a selfish little do gooder Continue reading


I have some sort of respiratory infection and my voice has, for two full weeks now, been scratchy and inconsistent. It is weird having to drop out of things. There were things I was looking forward to attending, but I don’t want to while sick because I don’t want to spread the infection. This includes homeschooling activities as well as activist activities. It feels weird and lonely suddenly at home Continue reading

More Counting Books – and activities to go with them

more counting books

We are still into counting books these days. Here are a few more books (and activity ideas) I thought were fun…. the links are to amazon affiliate links, meaning in the event anyone through them Amazon pays me the tiniest share of the purchase, but these books are ones you can probably find at your local library, so check them out there. Math Fables: Lessons That Count by Greg Tang Continue reading

What would it take to get me to use public transit regularly?

a trip on the bus

It is World Car Free Day, and city transit was free today – for those who have vouchers they downloaded and printed or picked up at the one of the libraries. I think the idea of free transit for the day is great, but I was a little uncomfortable with the idea that we need vouchers to be able to do it. I doubt vouchers made it into the hands Continue reading

In defense of Disney Princesses

In defense of Disney Princesses

There are probably great reasons to hate Disney, but the reason I keep hearing recently is because it gives little girls the wrong messages. In some ways, I agree with this. If you summarize many of the Disney stories the messages are quite creepy. However, I also think this is a reason people need to be a little nuanced and careful. It is way too easy for people to go Continue reading

continuing my homeschooling discussion of the Renaissance

Caterina Sforza

The Borgia family gives a “human face” to talking about the power balances. However reading about them in isolation of other Renaissance rulers can make them seem like some sort of anomaly: unethical, power hungry people in a world of decent citizens. In order to broaden my kids understanding of the topic and because my oldest needs a bit of practice in using workbooks I’m having them go through a Continue reading

Learning about the Borgia family – for fans of Horrible Histories

Brogia Family - portraits as well as a picture from the Horrible Histories Borgia Family song.

We enjoy watching Horrible Histories, and sometimes I use episodes as the basis of a history lesson. Here are some of my notes (and at the bottom, a list of resources, including a link to related math worksheets): Watch the vignette on Pope Alexander VI on Horrible Histories (season 4, episode 9) and the song Borgia Family in the same episode. Note that Alexander VI is the name Rodrigo Borgia Continue reading

quick and simple electrolysis demonstration


My husband has been doing some science demonstrations with the kids recently. Here’s a picture from one of them. He used a 9 volt battery to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. All that was required was adding a bit of magnesium sulfate (Epson salt) to the water and then dropping the battery in. He positioned two test tubes above the electrodes to collect the separated elements. Can you guess Continue reading

Tell your city council that you care about the homeless.

Coun. @dakilgour says lame duck council or not, he won't talk like a "dead duck"... says he gets more emails on animals than on homeless

I saw this tweet today while watching my city council meeting being live-tweeted by various reporters: There’s something horribly sad about it. I have no doubt it is true. There is a very active facebook group ranting about problems with the local animal shelter. I have no clue whether any of their accusations are true or not, and that isn’t my point right now. My point is that more people Continue reading

Superman Grounded: a comic book about despair and hope

Superman Grounded

I’ve read two good blog posts recently on using children’s books to help counter the despair people feel about the world today. One is a post over at Steam Powered Classroom, where Gwyn speaks about how children’s books embody the best parts of humanity.  She writes that children’s books “serve as the proverbial angel on the shoulder, whispering in young ears stories of kindness, of struggle, of the human condition.” Continue reading