• homeschooling

    Day-to-day to challenges homeschooling

    I’d love to say that homeschooling was this paradise of cooperation between parent and children, where we do amazing fascinating projects and have plenty of fun. The fact is, most days are a strange tug-of-war between watching the children pursue their own projects and trying to get them to do just a little bit of schoolwork while also carving out a bit of time for my own projects. Every day is filled with little interruptions and distractions. Some are mild and simple. Some drag me down a rabbit-hole of questions about how I should be responding. Here are just a few: kids inventing their own games and wanting to tell…

  • memes,  the ethical life

    Life is so much more complicated than the pro-small business memes make it sound.

    Today I saw a meme that read “When you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a CEO buy a third holiday home. You’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy his team jersey, moms & dads put food on the table. Shop local.” Let’s ignore for a moment the sexism involved in assuming the girl get’s dance lessons and the boy a sports jersey. Let’s focus on this issue of big businesses verse small. There’s an extent to which that is true. A small business owner is probably not buying a third holiday home. However, many so-called small-businesses these days are actually multi-level marketing schemes,…

  • activism,  meaning of life,  music,  religion

    Reflection on a Linnea Good Concert

    Last night I took my children to a Linnea Good concert. Linnea Good is a United Church singer, songwriter and storyteller. I took my very-atheist children to her concert because her music was a big part of my teenage years. This was my second time attending a concert of hers, and the first was way back when I was younger than my oldest is now. So, why was the music meaningful to me? I think the most amazing meaningful part was that Linnea was willing to show some of her own vulnerability. She talked about how after thirty years of performing she’s really good at being nice, but that she…

  • history,  homeschooling

    Resources for Learning Akkadian and Sumerian

    My current hobby is learning ancient languages, in particular Akkadian and Sumerian. I take a multi-pronged approach. I use an app to help me memorize word lists. I make charts of words and work through workbooks and I watch youtube videos. I look at ancient texts and their translations to be able to see how words are used “in the wild” (in their conjugated forms). I copy sentences. I make lists of related words. Searching for Words The Sumerian online dictionary and Akkadian online dictionary are both very useful. There are app versions. Memorizing Words: I use the app Memrise. This is basically a flash-card app that asks you to…

  • Picture of a five year old child holding a protest sign.
    goals,  politics,  the ethical life

    Making a difference

    Sometimes I feel helpless in the face of all the problems of the world. Then I remind myself there’s lots I can do to make a difference. I can: write a letter to the editor to try to change others thoughts on an issue and to let those who share my beliefs know they are not alone. pick up garbage beside the road. reach out to a friend and let them know I care. encourage good discussion in a world where we don’t always think things through. donate to organizations that are doing good work. volunteer with organizations. stand on a street corner in support of causes I care about.…

  • homeschooling,  politics

    teaching civics with reflections on a small town council meeting

    It is Saturday morning and I’m watching a video recording of a town council meeting that took place several provinces away. I’m taking notes to write the story up for my dad’s newspaper. The strange thing is, I actually find counsel meetings kind of interesting. I love the little details of small town life. The minor hockey club asked for their meeting notices to be displayed on the town’s signs. This would add to the frequency of which staff would have to change the text on those signs. The administration is willing to do it but want permission to draw up a policy, because presumably if they put the hockey…

  • climate change,  politics

    “500 climate change denying scientists” – yeah, no.

    I’ve been bothering to engage with some of the climate change deniers on the Sudbury Star’s Facebook page. They link to a Brietbart article saying that there’s over 500 scientists that are petitioning the UN to say there’s no climate crisis. I start looking up the scientists who signed the letter. I’m going through the top names, the ones who started the petition. From Wikipedia: “Guus Berkhout (born 1940) is a Dutch engineer. He has worked for Shell in the oil- and gas industry and served as professor of acoustics, geophysics and innovation management at Delft University of Technology between 1976 and 2007. From 2000 to 2002 he was chair…

  • Biblical history,  homeschooling

    More notes on attempting to secularize Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World.

    This is the second part of a series of articles exploring the way that Susan Wise Bauer presents Biblical stories in her Story fo the World curriculum. In chapter six of volume one she presents the stories of Abraham and Joseph. In chapter twelve she recaps this briefly while talking about the Hyksos invasion of Egypt: These enemies were from Canaan. Do you remember reading about Canaan? In your story about Abraham, Abraham heard the voice of God, telling him to go to Canaan. And do you remember what he thought? He thought, “Why would I go to a wilderness filled with strange, wild tribes?” It is important to note…

  • The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer and one of many academic books on the topic of the early Hebrew religion
    Biblical history,  history,  homeschooling

    Notes on the Story of the World – from a secular academic perspective

    The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer is a very popular history curriculum amongst homeschoolers. However, one complaint frequently made is that the book presents Biblical stories as if they were history. In chapter six of volume one it tells the story of Abraham and then the story of Joseph, both embellished from the Bible. Here are some notes on how I would approach these. Placement of the Story The Story of the World situations the story of Abraham as taking place shortly after Sargon the Great. Sargon the Great lived over two thousand years before the Common Era (CE or, as it was known in my childhood,…

  • Biblical history,  politics

    Biblical history and Israel

    Did you know there’s a political component to the question of the literal truth of the Bible? There are people who argue for it being true not just because they want it for a spiritual guide, but also because they want justification for the nation of Israel to be a Jewish nation? Part of the politics of the question of “was there a King David?” and “How much land did he control?” is about whether or not that land should be Jewish now and how much land. I don’t talk about this much in my classes, partly because the situation with Israel is incredibly complex. I want to comment about…