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

my experience and plans teaching with Minecraft

a dwarven kingdom in minecraft

My kids and I are eagerly working on our minecraft server these days. We build scenes and then add non-player-characters (NPCs) the scripts of which we write using a plugin called Betonquest. The boys built a fairy kingdom full of mushroom houses. With their help, I wrote up conversations for the fairies based on Shakespeare’s fairies in A Mid Summer’s Night Dream. We added a nine men’s morris board built of a grass path, like the “the quaint mazes in the wanton green” that the Shakespeare’s Titania had said was “for lack of tread are undistinguishable.” For each snippet of Shakespeare Continue reading

Picture books about hobbies and collections

What can you do with a collection? Does it just take up space or can it lead to something more?  Over the past week or so I’ve been reading with my children a number of books about children with collections or passions. Each of these books impressed me in some way, so I decided to write and share some of my thoughts on each of them.  Hannah’s Collections by Marthe Jocelyn tells of a girl with a collection of collections. She collects everything: keys, dolls, feathers, and much more.  Of the books I’m featuring on this page, this was the one I related Continue reading

Dinosaurs, Genesis & the Gospel

An image of a school test has been making the rounds on the internet and snopes has confirmed that it is not faked. The other day I saw on a homeschooler’s facebook page an advertisement for a discount code to get a free copy of the video (code “dino” though I can’t promise whether it works or not still) that the students watched prior to writing this test. I downloaded it and it is every bit as crazy as I feared. The video is predominantly footage of a presentation done in front of a half-filled auditorium of young children, with additional animated material. Continue reading

Teaching history to my homeschooled kids

Wow. A letter to the editor in the Nanaimo Times reminds me why teaching history properly is so important. The letter has been removed as has the screen shot of it I tried to link to. The author of the letter lists of accomplishments he feels the natives failed to meet before starting onto his theories before arguing that they are irresponsible and should not receive “special treatment.” The letter misses several important things I want my children (and all Canadians) to learn. There are two historical issues at play. One is the issue of what the author titles “special Continue reading

is there such a thing as a neutral education system?

I love it when similar or related ideas appear in several parts of my life at once. There’s been a number of things that come together to make me think again about education and the question of whether an education system can be neutral. I write about this as someone whose children are not in school. I pick and choose between different curriculum resources and from the library, choosing what resources I believe match my educational goals for my children, and those goals include, to an extent, a desire to pass on to my children my belief systems. Yet I Continue reading

Interacting with those we disagree with

What do you do with people you don’t agree with? Do you agree to keep quiet about the topics you disagree on? Do you cut them out of your life? Or keep them in your life but with a mental note not to take seriously any of their opinions? Do you argue incessantly? These questions permeate my life. Perhaps it is because I hold strong opinions about things. I care about a great variety of issues which means I have lots I could potentially disagree with people on. I notice subtle implications of things so I disagree with things other Continue reading

Paying for blogs?

“Writers deserve to get paid for their work” says a popular blogger in defense of putting her blog behind a paywall. The arguments and comments made by her fans and detractors alike fascinate me because they touch on several important issues such as what work is and what we use money for. While some online forums, resource webpages and newspapers do use paywalls, the majority of us are unused to paying for blogs. Yet we are willing to pay money for books and magazines, so why not blogs? One could imagine an internet where five or ten cents is automatically Continue reading

Dominoes, Triangular Numbers, multiples of three and other patterns

We’ve been having lots of fun using our double six domino set for homeschooling games, so when I saw a Double 12 set on sale the other day I purchased it. For those who don’t know, I should mention that Double 6 dominoes have numbers going up to six on each side, and double 12 dominoes have numbers going up to 12. As soon as I could I set my 7 year old to work understanding patterns within the dominoes. We spread them across the kitchen table and began lining them up. Dominoes are made so that each number is Continue reading

The Meaning of Reading

Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains includes the following: Theuth describes the art of writing to Thamus and argues that the Egyptians should be allowed to share in its blessings. It will, he says, “make the people of Egypt wiser and improve their memories,” for it “provides a recipe for memory and wisdom.” Thamus disagrees. He reminds the god that an inventor is not the most reliable judge of the value of his creation: “O man full of arts, to one is it given to create the things of art, and to another Continue reading