• 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…

  • 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 of 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,…

  • homeschooling

    Worldbuilding as a Homeschooling Project.

    I’ve been a pretty lazy homeschooler recently, busy with a temporary part-time job as well as getting ready my online classes, so I am unbelievably grateful that my kids have some awesome projects going. Today I want to share, with his permission, about my middle child’s project. His project is worldbuilding. He’s got an imaginary world. He’s spent months now working on the language the dragons speak. It isn’t just a matter of a different alphabet or different words for all the same concepts we have. He’s thought about what kinds of concepts a dragon might develop. His word for a surface you write on is based on his word…

  • history,  homeschooling

    Reading Ancient Hittite Laws with my Kids

    I’ve been reading through an old book on the ancient Hittite laws. (Why? Why not?!) The first interesting detail in the book is the idea that they might not have had a word for the abstract concept of “law.” They had a word for “a law” or “the laws.” Some of the laws seem unremarkable but others have led to some interesting conversations with my kids. We talked about the following law and how it compares to modern compensation for injuries: “If anyone injures a person and temporarily incapacities him, he shall provide medical care for him. In his place he shall provide a person to work on his estate…

  • homeschooling

    Making the switch to homeschooling – again

    You wouldn’t think that pulling a child out of school to homeschool would be hard for me. After all, I’ve done it before, multiple times. I was homeschooled for six years as a teenager. My oldest has only ever been to school for a month and my second oldest for only a year. My daughter came home in the middle of the year her grade-one year.  She returned to school in grade two of her own free will. In the summer before grade three she’d like to homeschool again, and we pushed her back into school because we had seen the fun she had the year before. She’s really not…

  • This picture shows a Minecraft village built in the style of Catal Hoyuk
    history,  homeschooling,  politics,  religion

    Searching for Justice and Equality in Ancient Times

    One of the classes I’m teaching these days is a secular Bible study class. I treat the Bible like a work of literature. We discuss the different historical periods and the theologies within the Bible, but I’m not trying to convert them. I use the textbooks I had from university to help me, but simplifying stuff for children. I’m having wonderful fun with the class. Then on a different day of the week I teach an ancient history class that is looking more at other ancient cultures of the Middle East. So from this study of ancient times, what fascinates me is the frequency in which the different texts and…

  • goals,  homeschooling

    Year End Review

    The school year in Canada stretches for a few more weeks, but we’re ready for summer here. The two children I’m homeschooling are doing just our minimal amount of schoolwork for the day, and my one remaining child in school is wishing and dreaming of summer holidays. I’m thinking over the schoolwork and other projects we did this year, and wondering that never-ending question – is it enough? Did we do enough? Did we make good use of this year? This year my six year old learned to read. She learned to count, to add and subtract. Yes, she was a little late learning to count. As a toddler she…

  • homeschooling

    Truth Time: School or homeschooling?

    It has been a year of transitions here. All three of my children went to school for the first time in September but only one is still registered there. My oldest returned to homeschooling after only a month at school and my youngest returned to homeschooling after Christmas. You can read about the decision to send them to school here and about bringing my oldest home here. It has been a very strange year with so many transitions. Sending the kids to school and then bringing them home again forced me to confront the serious questions about why we were homeschooling and what I want. We started homeschooling in the…

  • homeschooling,  minecraft

    My son is proud of how I’m learning with Minecraft, and so am I

    Today I found myself writing an email about why I recommend people buy Minecraft for PC/Mac. The reason I recommend it is that Minecraft is a game that can grow with a person. It’s easy enough for a small child but complicated enough that even an adult can continue learning with it. My six year old can build and play on it. She greets others on my multiplayer server with the few words she knows how to type and she makes a huge effort to read what others type back to her.  My older children have been learning about mods and config files. They’ve learned about json commands and the…