recognizing racism in Northern Ontario

So there’s a story around here about a company promoting ice huts that said in their ad: “Please no status card users! You are not welcome in our huts. Equality for all or you will not get the time of day from us and will lose any deposit paid to us.” Since the uproar over it the owner has tried to claim he was just saying that everyone (including natives) has to abide by fishing regulations at his huts (even though legally those fishing regulations don’t apply to natives). I‘m watching on the local news as commenters try to defend Continue reading

stopping the (home)school work struggle

One struggle I’ve faced homeschooling – and I know others face it too – is getting a child to do schoolwork when the child would prefer to whine, fuss and procrastinate. I’ve seen it discussed on homeschool forums and noticed a number of people suggesting two things: switching curriculum or going to unschooling. I want to talk about why those aren’t great solutions and what I would suggest instead. Switching curriculum is not a solution because although the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, it isn’t magical. Curriculum is a bit like a relationship. In Continue reading

reflections on history and this December 19th

Today I fend of depression by immersing myself in obscure books about the 1680s. It was a very bizarre time when Anglicans in England feared the king’s religious tolerance. After all, they were used to being the ones allowed to not tolerate others. Maybe we can see it a bit like when the Conservative Christians acted as though allowing gay marriage was going to mean forcing them all to billet gay honey-mooners in their house indefinitely. Except for the Anglicans that sort of was a possibility, whereas for Conservative Christians the worst they were being asked was to ignore the Continue reading

December 6th – day of mourning for victims of men’s violence against women.

Today is December 6th. In Canada we remember the women killed this year in a massacre at École Polytechnique. Women were killed because they were women seeking training and jobs in a field that a deranged man considered to be the territory of men. I think about when I was a young child, how I dreamed of being a doctor and a lawyer. I was suprised in grade five by a school assignment where we had to research a field of employment traditionally employed by the opposite gender. It surprised me to find that those two careers were seen (at Continue reading

responding to those who voted for Trump

I’ve been thinking a lot about the questions of what it means to vote for Trump and who the Trump supporters are. I’ve seen lots of posts about how Trump won because he spoke to the working class, and the working class wants change and human dignity. There are some who say that making this about race and homophobia is a mistake… that it is an attempt to tarnish the good people who voted for Trump, to write them off as “deplorables” rather than to hear their legitimate concerns. On the other hand, we now have Christian supremists and probably Continue reading

Optimism vs Hope

I’m thinking about the difference between optimism and hope. One can be optimistic because one believes things will go well. In some cases optimism is good and natural. However optimism can also be due to a lack of information about the potential problems or because one deliberately rejects the facts that disagrees with one. Therefore optimism itself is not a virtue. We should not be trying to “choose optimism” when the situation does not warrant it. I picture NASA scientists preparing for a rocket launch. We want them to be optimistic because all the tests, models and simulations suggest they will Continue reading

the day after the American election

I started blogging right after Stephen Harper was re-elected. Back then my blog was called “Another Step to Take…” I was sitting in shock, staring at election results, and feeling horrified that Canada could re-elect someone so blatantly bad. I had been out knocking on doors during the election. I had helped drive people to the polls. Blogging was something I started doing as another step, started the day after an election, for trying to work for changes the next election. I started off blogging about politics. Since then my blog has shifted. I’ve blogged more on homeschooling. I changed Continue reading

treating children like rational creatures

I was reading a philosophy book the other day, and I came across this interesting passage by John Locke: Remove hope and fear, and there is an end of all discipline. I grant that good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature; these are the spur and reigns whereby all mankind are set on work and guided, and therefore they are to be made use of to children too. For I advice their parents and governors always to carry this in thier minds, that children are to be treated as rational creatures. As I Continue reading

just keep reading, just keep reading

My brain itches right now, with this sense that new ideas are waiting to burst forth. I don’t know yet where they will take me but I can see the seeds. I’ve been rereading parts of Don Quixote in preparation to speak about it in a class I’m teaching. At the same time, I’m reading the book Paranoia and Modernity: Cervantes to Rousseau by John Farrell. Among other things the book talks about the ways in which Don Quixote appeals to the possibility of enchanters, both helpful and malevolent to explain the disconnect between his understanding of reality and reality Continue reading

Someone’s judging a homeschooler! Call out the troops. Or maybe, don’t.

Sometimes I read something someone else writes, and I recognize in it something that connects with other issues. Today I saw a post titled “Maybe we haven’t been critical enough of our fellow moms….” I saw it posted on facebook, and in most of the comments on facebook people were being very critical of the blogger, saying that people need to mind their own business and not judge. For my part, the post and discussion threw me into all sorts of confusion. The sense I had from the article was not that someone wants to stick her nose into other Continue reading