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    children talking to strangers

    I was reading an online parenting forum the other day, where people were discussing what age they allow their children to go to the park by themselves and several things struck out to me. Some of the women on that particular forum were recommending checking the sexual offenders lists   as though a predetermined list could tell them whether it is safe or not for their children to be out and about, or who to warn their kids against. I think such lists are useless and cruel as many young men are classified as sexual offenders for statutory rape and are no danger whatsoever to park-going children. Other mothers on the forum were…

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    Shakespeare Revisted

    Last time we ‘studied’ Shakespeare together my goal was for the kids to gain some familiarity. I wanted them to recognize the name and know a bit about the person so that when references to Shakespearean plays come I could point them out. This time we’re studying Shakespeare my goal is to encourage the kids to play with words and language. We started by reviewing the witches song in Macbeth. We watched an animated version of Julius Caesar and I read some of my favorite lines from it. We talked about how Shakespeare used imagery and sentence structure to make a simple idea into something complicated. I turn to one…

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    Welcome to my new spot on the web!

    Welcome to my new spot on the web! I have moved my blog from http://anothersteptotake.blogspot.com and given it a new name: Houseful of Chaos. The contents will continue to be a mismatch of post about homeschooling, books, politics and whatever else strikes my fancy. Related posts: thoughts on the networks that control our internet experiences Twitterstorm for an Emergency Homeless Shelter in Sudbury Goodnight Animal World #BarbaricCulturalPractices

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    a question for you

    Blogging is like having a one-way window pointing in. You can look in at me, but all I can see is my reflection.  Who is reading this? Related posts: Benefit Street: If this is entertainment…. Goodnight Animal World thoughts on the networks that control our internet experiences Twitterstorm for an Emergency Homeless Shelter in Sudbury

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    Daisy Between a Rock and a Hard Place

     Daisy Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a short book written by Janis F. Kearney, about Daisy Bates. Daisy Bates was an activist who helped mentor the Little Rock Nine during the Integration Crisis of 1957. Nine black students had enrolled in the previously all-white school and the Arkansas National Guard was called out to prevent their entrance to the school. Daisy Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a bit of an odd book, weaving the story of civil rights activist Daisy Bates together with the stories of other people and places that entered Daisy’s life. It tells bits of the history of the town Daisy was born in, and…

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    Making the most of the holiday time

    Holidays can be days with more, less or different work or they can be days to be refreshed. I’m trying to figure out what exactly refreshes me. What makes life seem even better? Yesterday I had moments of feeling refreshed when I was thinking about what changes I would make in the schoolwork I give the kids. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result, then refreshment comes with making changes and knowing that different results are possible. Maybe I can reduce a bit of the day to day struggles. Today I felt refreshed when I had a conversation with a friend, and as…

  • Using lego to make a copying machine.
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    Outside the Lego Box

    Lego is such a wonderful versatile thing. I wanted to write a post about a couple of the ways we’ve used lego in homeschooling and play, and I want to invite others to share pictures and stories of lego creations. Drawing Machines. We made several attempts at lego drawing machines. The one pictured was probably the easiest and most successful. Use it to get to similar but not congruent copies of whatever you’re drawing. The best part is to sit there with it in your hands and try to figure out how to explain why it is that it works the way it does. We made other drawing machines too.…

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    The Shapes of Recursive Stories

    The book Wait, I Want to Tell You A Story by Tom Williams is a perfect opportunity to explore recursion. In the story one animal wants to prevent himself from being eaten by telling his predator a story about another animal who attempts to do the same thing, and so on and so on. The story also seemed to me like a good time to talk about math and the order of operation. Things in brackets are like the little stories that must be completed before you can eat the storyteller. There is a book Zoom by Istvan Banyai that has no words, only pictures and each picture shows how the picture…

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    Book Review: When Apples Grew Noses and White Horses Flew

    When Apples Grew Noses and White Horses Flew by Jan Andrews are a delightful trio of fairy-tales, set in New France during the time of voyageurs. They are stories of a third brother, rather simple but still smart enough to find his way where he needs to be. “Ti Jean and the Princess of Tomboso” tells how Ti Jean carelessly loses his and his brother’s magical inheritance to a self-centered princess, and then how he retrieves the items. The story opens up lots of good conversation topics. Which of the three magical gifts would you like most, a belt that will take you anywhere, a purse that produces a hundred gold coins every time it is opened…

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    I miss academia

    A few days ago I walked down the aisles of a rather small university library. My eyes wandered through the shelves picking out the titles of books. I felt a sense of coming home. I’ve missed academia. I’ve been reading constantly anyway. It isn’t like I’ve faced a shortage of books. What I’ve missed is the assurance that it is good and normal to read, to learn about everything and anything. I miss being someplace where the thoughts and ideas were assets, rather than just another difference between myself and the next mother over. Walking through the university library was like being welcomed into a world outside of myself. The books…