Conversations to go with three great picture books

I am loving that my youngest is excited about picture books. There was just a little while where she didn’t care much for us reading to her, and her brothers were into chapter books, but now she’s right back into picture books. Three of the books we read recently struck me as being really interesting. They all had some aspect in which the limits of what the characters know becomes apparent. It led to some interesting conversations. There were other things I liked about the books too, so I’m dusting off the old blog and writing about them. (There are Continue reading

Advice for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

Homeschooling friends, are you starting to think about what curriculum you will be using next year? The Canadian Homeschooling Blogging Team’s blog hop for this month is about Choosing Curriculum, so I have decided to share my tips and commentary on choosing and using curriculum. I use good quality curriculum materials because I want my children to learn more than I know. I want them to learn math strategies that I’ve long since forgotten, and spelling rules I was never taught. At the same time the curriculum I purchase tends to be expensive. Someone put a lot of effort into making Continue reading

More fun, easy ways to do math with Minecraft

Using the minecraft fill command provides lots of opportunities to practice math, while creating interesting maps.

I’m delighted that I will be teaching another Minecraft math class with Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, and to celebrate that registration is now open, I’d like to share just a few more of the many ways to practice math on Minecraft. The other day my children and I were exploring how to build tunnels quicker. One way of doing this is to use the fill command. Often using fill or clone we can look at the two opposite corners of the rectangular prism we are planning on filling or cloning, and record the coordinates. In building a tunnel we can only look Continue reading

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