• Picture shows a child's hand holding a styrofoam skull. Text is "Introducing Young Children to Shakespeare: Alas, Poor Yorick, I knew him."

    Introducing Young Children to Shakespeare through Play

    I love Shakespeare. As a teenager, my best friends and I would hang around in the attic of my house practicing acting out Mid Summer’s Night Dream.  We didn’t understand all the jokes at first, but annotated books helped us learn them and we became familiar with the rhythm and language of his works. I still hear my best friend’s voices when I read certain lines of the play. Later, as a parent, I was excitedly to introduce my children to his work. I started when they were very young, still at an age where they were playing with wooden blocks. We took to reciting a passage from Macbeth over…

  • Biblical history

    Reading the Deuteronomic Histories

    I’ve been reading the Deuteronomic history very closely, reflecting on the stories from my rather atheist, somewhat heathen point of view. The Deuteronomic history is made up of the Biblical books of Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. Those books may have been compiled and edited together sometime around the time of King Josiah or sometime later and share a theological viewpoint that resembles that of the book of Deuteronomy. They tell of kings that rise and fall, making frequent complaints about those not deemed to worship one god properly. They are at times rambling and sometimes confusing, but they show an amazing literary skill.…

  • homeschooling,  politics

    American Political Studies Resources for Highschool Student

    I am a Canadian homeschooling my children, but we can’t help hearing about American politics. So, my husband and I are insisting that our children learn to understand the American political system as well as the Canadian system. Here is what we are using: The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution is Paralyzing Democracy by Daniel Lazare. My husband recommended this one for understanding the limits of the American system. Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville. De Tocqueville was a Frenchman writing about America in 1831. He was incredibly optimistic about the United States and its potential. The West Wing, a tv series by Aaron Sorkin. This television show is…

  • parenting,  politics

    Jinx! and Political Studies Goofiness

    The following conversation is being shared with the permission of my children. My teenager jinxed the eleven-year-old. This rules of jinxing is that two people attempted to say the same thing at the same time, and the one doing the jinxing calls out that the other is jinxed. This means the jinxed person is not to speak until the other person says his name. The nine year old is advocating the eleven-year-old just ignores the jinx and speak anyway. “I do it all the time. What are you going to do? Punish me? Mom’s right there.” The teenager: “You can’t ignore the jinx. Society will fall apart if you ignore…

  • activism

    Moving Mountains

    This post was originally written on 22 May 2011 but was updated on April 13, 2020 with updated info about a few of the causes. The kids and I were reading Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss today. Every couple of pages, M would ask “what could this represent?” and we would talk about the different parts of life. At the end it comes to “Kid, you’ll move mountains…” and we started talking about what kind of mountains people are moving. I think about Shannen, the teenager who worked to try to get more funding for education on native reserves in Canada. She died in a car accident…

  • Uncategorized

    Houseful of Chaos Press

    This publication company is starting soon. A Secular Bible Study will be published shortly. This book provide short lessons from a secular point of view, trying to look at what the writers were trying to say rather than “what God wanted.” In the book we explore the history of Israel and Judah, and how the religious beliefs of the early Hebrews changed in response to the political situations of their day. My current goal is to have the book ready for May 15, 2020. Related posts: Emotional chaos Twitterstorm for an Emergency Homeless Shelter in Sudbury #BarbaricCulturalPractices thoughts on the networks that control our internet experiences

  • Biblical history

    Reading Nadav Na’aman’s essays on Canaanite history

    Over the last week I’ve been reading from the book Canaan in the Second Millenium BCE by Nadav Na’aman. It is a collection of essays, many based on the Amarna texts. The one I read last night has profound implications for my understanding of Canaanite history and so I’m using the break time to reflect on it. The essay in question deals with the Akkadian word “Habiru,” which some people interpret as being connected with the word “Hebrew.” Apparently some interpret the Habiru as being the origins of the Hebrew people. Na’aman argues instead that the term was borrowed. The older term was used for uprooted migrants. Na’aman argues that…

  • history,  politics

    Where does political authority come from?

    One of the books I’ve been reading recently is called Piety and Politics: The Dynamics of Royal Authority in Homeric Greece, Biblical Israel, and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia. One of the things it points out very early is that the divine authority of kings in ancient times is not necessarily the same as the European concept of the divine right of kings. In the later European concept the authority of God is bestowed upon the king for his whole life. The king is not accountable to anyone. In its extreme the will of the king could be taken to be the will of God. In the ancient understanding the god could…

  • Biblical history,  education,  history,  politics

    Sophists And Today?

    Aaron Sorkin’s television show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip aired in 2006. Already, the show feels somewhat dated and when watching it with our children my husband and I found ourselves trying to explain how the public debate was different at that time. (Just as one example, these days we hear more about the white supremacists than the religious right, but the show focuses on the latter, not the former.) There is something fun about stepping outside of the time period and thinking about the debates of other time periods. It is part of what I do in the secular Bible studies classes I’ve been teaching. I try to…

  • activism,  politics,  the ethical life

    The true reason I haven’t been involved in political activism for a while: not time shortage but fear of being wrong.

    Life is complicated. I look back at so many things I used to believe and I don’t hold those beliefs anymore. The knowledge of how my beliefs have changed makes me a bit more hesitant to express my beliefs. What if I say something now, and then look back at it a few years later and think “oh, how ignorant that was?” That is, of course, the reality of life. We all should be growing, changing, and accepting that our beliefs don’t hold still and we shouldn’t let that stop us from speaking about what we believe now. Yet perhaps it still needs to shape our actions. The awareness that…