• history,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  meaning of life

    A Paradise Without the Need to Work?

    I love following wisps of ideas as they lead me through different times and works of literature. Today I’m thinking about how different writers questioned the possibility of a paradise without labour. Start with the Gonzalo’s speech in The Tempest about how he would run an island, if he could: I’th’ commonwealth I would by contrariesExecute all things, for no kind of trafficWould I admit; no name of magistrate;Letters should not be known; riches, poverty, (165)And use of service, none; contract, succession,Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;No occupation; all men idle, all;And women too, but innocent and pure; (170)No sovereignty—…All things…

  • Picture of the book Fever 1793, and the text "Learning through Literature: a guest blog post"
    books,  homeschooling

    Learning Through Literature: Epidemics in World History with Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson

    This guest post has been written by Yvie, who blogs at Homeschool On the Range. World history has been shaped by its epidemics…cholera, smallpox, influenza, yellow fever, the plague, and now coronavirus are just a few diseases that have swept entire nations.  What exactly is a pandemic, and how does it differ from an epidemic? In this literature-based unit study, Yvie Field, author at Homeschool On the Range, is taking middle and high schoolers on a thrilling ride through the major epidemics in world history.  You can assign the reading and classwork to one student, or read the book aloud and learn together as a family! Vocabulary Words miasma, bilious,…

  • Cover picture from A Flight of Angels
    Biblical history,  books

    Book Review: A Flight of Angels

    When you hear the word “angel” what do you find yourself thinking? Guardian angel? Angel of death? Messengers of God? Fallen angels? Heavenly beings? In the graphic novel A Flight of Angels the fate of an unconscious angel is in the hands of a young enslaved fawn. A variety of other magical creatures gather and share stories about who they believe angels are, before the angel’s fate is decided. It is a strange mix of stories, each representing something of the person who tells it and exploring one aspect of how people have envisioned angels. Unfortunately the book has tons of unnecessary nudity, as one of the story tellers is…

  • Picture shows a cat climbing out of a drawer, representative of my feeling of needing to get back to some type of activism.
    activism,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  politics

    Actions Matter

    I am fascinated by this short poem by Piet Hein: CONSOLATION GROOK Losing one gloveis certainly painful,but nothingcompared to the painof losing one,throwing away the other,and findingthe first one again. Apparently the poem was written as part of the Danish resistance during WWII, encouraging people not to throw away their patriotism and self respect just because Denmark had been captured by Germans. In many ways, it is a more poetic subtle way of saying that no matter how hard a situation is, what matters is what the individual chooses to do in response to it. The response is the more painful, important thing. I’ve been thinking about that the last…

  • politics

    Donald Trump, corrupt CEO of America

    What Trump says reveals so much about him. In the last presidential debate of 2020 Trump said that only those of low IQ would show up for their immigration hearings if not imprisoned. A study says that actually, 99% do. What Trump said doesn’t reflect the reality of migrants to the United States. It reflects Trump. He wouldn’t show up. He thinks those who willingly follow laws are stupid, because he doesn’t. Trump has suggested that if Ethiopia doesn’t negotiate with Egypt on issues pertaining to a damn, that Egypt will just ‘blow up’ the dam. Again, this is Trump revealing who he is. This is what he’d like to…

  • homeschooling

    How correspondence courses are changing how I look at education (and not for the better)

    The biggest problem with my teenager’s correspondence courses is that they take up so much time and they make all the other learning things we used to “not schoolwork.” There are so many things where I think “oh, that would be fun and educational” and then I think “oh, but will that take him away from his schoolwork?” Or he says that the other things sound great but he needs to work on his schoolwork. Somehow this is all getting to my brain. I start thinking about my other children’s schoolwork differently. I’ve always said, “oh, yeah, I make sure the kids keep up with their peers in school,” but…

  • Picture shows the backs of a teenage boy and his younger sister walking down a path in autumn.

    Switching to Correspondence Courses for Highschool Credit

    We’re taken another step in our homeschool journey. I’ve spent a huge part of this past week going through and trying to ensure that my teenager gets credit for grade nine, even though were homeschooling, so that he can do grade ten correspondence courses this year. (Yes, yes, I know I should have done this months ago, but I didn’t know about this particular source of correspondence courses or what the requirements would be.) Anyway, it is a very interesting task. I go through the Ontario curriculum requirements for the courses that I believe he has completed and for each item in the requirements I have to describe how he…

  • Picture of the author, Eileen Moynihan, and her poetry book A Posy of Wild Flowers

    Talking with author and poet Eileen Moynihan

    My questions are written without italics. Eileen Moynihan’s responses are in italics. How many books have you written? My latest book is my 6th children’s book and I have also done a collection of poetry for adults. I know you live in Ireland. Are any of the children’s books set in Ireland? Not specifically. Some of them could be in several countries. ‘Hattie and Jacques Love London’ is set in London, England and mentions Paris, France. My latest book, ‘A Posy of Wild Flowers’ has wild flowers found in Ireland and the U.K; but the flower names are also in Irish. Why did you decide to switch from stories to…

  • Picture of the book Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    books,  history,  homeschooling,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  politics

    Little House on the Prairie Books and the Problem of Messy History.

    It is a perennial questions in homeschool circles, whether one should read the Little House on the Prairie books with one’s kids or whether the racism in it makes those books ones that should be put aside. The books have the heroine’s mother saying “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” and one of them has the father engaging in blackface. I started reading the Little House books with my oldest child sometime before he turned six. I had forgotten about what they contained. We came to one of the first examples of racism in it and he said no way would he listen to the rest of the…

  • Picture shows the inside of Christy Knockleby's book A Secular Bible Study
    Houseful of Chaos Press,  politics

    A Secular Bible Study

    My book A Secular Bible Study is now available. I based this book off of classes that I have been teaching online to homeschooling students. My classes are for students who wanted to learn about the Bible, but without being preached at. I take the academic approach I learned at university and share it with middle schoolers and teenagers. With my book I hope to make it available to more people. My approach to the Bible is through a historical critical approach. That means I try to look at the texts in light of their historical environment. What did they mean to their early audiences? The Bible was written over…