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

comparing two versions of Miracle on 34th Street

comparing two versions of miracle on 34th street

Over the holidays we watched the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street. It is one of my old favorites, though I found it very strange watching it again. The part that seemed most ridiculous was that Kris Kringle bangs someone over his head hard enough to have a concussion, and just walks out like everything is normal and okay. Then the victim’s boss pressures him to drop charges. Lawsuits anyone? I got curious about how the 1994 version of the movie handles the issue, so the other night my husband and I watched it. Actually, we watched it over Continue reading

preparing to teach a class exploring world history through pirates

exploring history through pirates

I haven’t been blogging much recently, because my free time has gone into preparing the course I’ll be teaching in January for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. Today I want to write a bit about what that preparation looks like. The main thing I’m doing is reading, reading, and yet more reading. I’m reading books that are directly about pirates, but I’m also reading books that are just about the history of the time. Some of the books are popular nonfiction, some are academic. With each book I’m taking detailed notes, and combining the notes together. Today I had the fun Continue reading

The “Merry Christmas” controversy?

Happy Holidays Cropped

There is a news story about a man in Sudbury who claims he didn’t get as many hours to work at his part time job as a result of his saying Merry Christmas to people. He also quoted Bible verses at his boss, saying that not saying Merry Christmas would be denying Jesus, something he’s not willing to do. The whole story makes me very uncomfortable. People want to claim both that saying “Merry Christmas” is just a little thing no one should be offended by, but also want to claim that it is a religious thing. If it is Continue reading

a Cinderella story, Ever After, and the history of some French royalty

Cinderella Story Ever After, and the history of a French queen or two.

A few days ago my kids and I watched the movie Ever After, with Drew Barrymore. It was interesting. It is a Cinderella story, rewritten to take out any mention of magic and referring to Cinderella as Danielle. Its primary focus is on folktale and not history and yet the movie includes a few tantalizing little details meant to try to suggest that the story could be historical. The story features Leonardo Da Vinci. It also identifies the king as Francis and the son as Henry, and the kingdom as France. Since Francis I of France did invite Leonardo Da Continue reading