• how do we know what we know is true,  science

    parenthood & choices, in my own life and in news stories

    For four days I haven’t had the energy to read anything harder than a novel or write anything at all. I was very physically active during that time, walking more than normal helping my kids rebuild their fort, and getting started on the garden. Emotionally the hard part was helping my children deal with their anger at the neighbouring children who had knocked their fort down, particularly when I was angry myself. I was angry not so much at the knocking down of the fort, but at one neighbouring child’s insistence on denying his involvement even when we had evidence he had been involved. One question one of my children asked me stands…

  • politics,  science

    Responding when a long time assumption about aspartame is challenged

    Oh, what questions arise from opening a science textbook! I didn’t realize a biology textbook would lead me again to wondering about the challenges of being open to new information and the doubt that comes with living in a world where we recognize too much research is done with corporate funding and too little paid for by governments. I borrowed a book Beginnings of Life by Ricki Lewis from the library thinking my nine year old might find it interesting. He didn’t pick it up from the pile during the first week so today I thought I’d read the first chapter to him as part of his schoolwork. The first…

  • environment,  science

    wildflowers, mealybugs and monarchs

    Two years ago my family drove down to a wildflower farm so we could fill our front garden with some of Ontario’s wildflowers. Of course it wasn’t until after we had replanted them and watched them grow for a year that I started to recognize the exact same plants growing wild across the street, and down the road from us. Should I fill silly for spending money on “weeds”? No, it is on the education, for it wasn’t until I was tending to my own labeled plants did I really learn to recognize them. Big and bushy, they fill the yard with life. Insects love them. We watch ants farming…

  • education,  memes,  science,  Uncategorized

    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. I was stunned by the total lack of logic and…

  • homeschooling,  science

    Food Science Fun

    Some days just fly by and it feels like we get nothing done. We’re spending more time outside and there’s been lots of days recently where the children have just been so content with their own play I don’t want to interrupt them. Writing is coming easier for the children. We’re spending less time on that and I’m trying to get back into doing more science activities with the children. Two of our recent projects involved using food for science projects. Here’s what we did: Edible (but unsweetened) Model of a Cell “Does the golgi apparatus look good to you?” “Want to see the mitochondia?” I smiled listening to the kids talk…

  • how do we know what we know is true,  parenting,  politics,  science

    vaccines and the selling of fear, distrust and a sense of superiority

    I read an article today about a family in New Zealand where a young boy came down with tetanus. His father is speaking out about their decision not to vaccinate, admitting that it was the wrong decision and hoping to spare others the pain they have had to suffer. The following stuck out to me: He’s not stupid. If anything, he was just a little bit too smart for his own good. The Williams are the one in 10 parents who opt out when it comes to vaccination, not out of ignorance, but because they think they know everything. Williams said they believed they’d done their research but now admits…

  • food,  homeschooling,  science

    Christmas Time Fun

    So what did we do this Christmas time? We tobogganed, experimented with computer programming again, played board games and much more. Here are a few of our holiday projects. We had learned about the different types of levers earlier, including the mnemonic “ple” to remember which type of lever is with. Each letter of “ple” stands for what is in the center of the lever. A type one lever has the pivot in the middle, a type two has the load, and a type three has the effort in the middle. Well this Christmas we reviewed the different types of levers while cracking nuts. We only have one nutcracker, which…

  • books,  homeschooling,  science

    What I want the children to learn from a unit on space.

    So we’re studying space, and I wonder, what is it I want the children to learn? I want them to get a realistic picture of space travel. In 1957 people were thrilled and scared because the Russians had figured out how to launch a small beeping sphere into orbit. The dog launched into space a month or so later died of overheating during the first few hours but that information wasn’t released to the public until 2002. I have a library book out that was written before then and it  casually states that unfortunately the satellite wasn’t designed to be retrieved and the dog perished. I want them to understand that…

  • food,  homeschooling,  science,  seasons

    Science in the Park

    I love October. We’re more settled into routines then we are in September. Schoolwork is going well. Right now we’re studying logarithms and geometry, and we’re trying to write lots of letters to relatives. We’re doing autumn-y activities too. We’ve gathered leaves and done leaf-rubbings. We’re drying apple slices to have for snacking on so I wake up to the smell of apples every morning and serve apple-pancakes for supper at least once a week. The children are talking already of Halloween. This is probably my favorite time of year. The weather is still nice enough we can spend quite a bit of time outdoors. Sure, the equipment is normally wet…

  • games,  homeschooling,  mathematics,  science

    Make Your Own UNO Card Games

    I can teach anything with a homemade UNO game. Or at least, I can use it anytime there’s something I need the children to practice that can be divided into categories. The basic game goes like this: deal out seven cards each. Flip one card over from the leftover card pile. You can play any card from the same category. Star cards allow you to change category that is meant to be played. If you can’t play a card you have to pick up another. If you get down to your last card you have to say “uno” before the next person plays, or else you have to draw another…