• Uncategorized

    My Mothers’ Day Gift to Myself

    My Mothers’ Day Gift to myself is to sort my to-read pile. I’m letting myself off the hook for books I thought I would read but probably won’t. I’m committing to finishing the ones I want to finish. I’m compiling the list of other books I want to read next. I hear people talk about self-care in terms of manicures or facials, new clothing or a meal out. That’s fine. Everyone has their own tastes, but to me self-care is to tell myself that what I read is important, to value my own learning, my own thoughts and questions. What I read is important. What I think is important. Who…

  • 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…

  • minecraft

    Cobblestone Academy

    For the last two years I’ve been using the same Minecraft server for the classes, and while I’ve added maps to the server during that time, I haven’t removed the one we started with. It’s a choatic terrain filled with all sorts of things my students have created over the time, and for me, filled with memories of all the awesome students I’ve been lucky enough to teach. Of course since we’re in Minecraft we can always just teleport over to the edge of what’s built and start building something new, no one needs to explore the choas unless they want to explore it. Each year as my classes end I tell…

  • 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…

  • religion,  the ethical life

    William Morris and Jane Austen: Lens for Literature

    I’m reading about William Morris, the 19th century designer and socialist. His company rejected the assembly line in favor of treating every creation like a work of art to be done by one person from start to finish. Morris learned old techniques and reinvented lost techniques. He hoped that as people saw the great quality products they would shun the cheaper mass-produced goods, but of course this didn’t happen and instead other companies produced cheap knock-offs of his work. I first heard of him years ago at university, when I was busy fingerweaving Metis-style sashes, which gave me at least a bit of a feel for the time involved in…

  • books,  geekiness

    images of giftedness in G. K. Chesterton

    I’m on a G. K. Chesterton binge right now, reading a variety of his books. Reading the books is a refreshing exercise. I have to concentrate on it. One cannot skim his books. Each sentence has such meaning and yet each gets more meaning from the sentences around it. That seems such an obvious thing to say. but it really I can read a paragraph or two and then sit and reflect upon what it means. I keep finding within Chesteron’s works descriptions about intellectual giftedness. Since the challenge of being a gifted adult is a topic of interest to me, I thought I’d share these passages with you. From the…

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

    more reflections on free speech

    I’m still slowly reading a big book about 17th century arguments for and against religious tolerance. It is called John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture by John Marshall. I’m really not used to being stuck in the middle of one book for this long, but it seems like the kids are still always talking to me or climbing on me, and this book requires some concentration to be able to follow it. The book is worth reading though. I’m enjoying learning about the different arguments. I’m enjoying reflecting on it in light of questions about free speech. Arguments for toleration often exist in response to specific arguments against toleration.…

  • activism,  politics

    free speech and fair play

    I’ve been fascinated by discussions of free speech recently. Now even a right-wing American group has decided to uninvite a horrid right-wing troll from speaking at their event. The topic of his speech was supposed free speech and how the left is trying to curtail it, but apparently since it has come out that he advocates pedophilia even the right wing want to limit his freedom of speech – or at least, not to host his speech. So apparently there are standards, after which a person is disgusting enough they should be no-platformed. Dru Oja Jay said it wonderfully: “The fall of Milo is heartening, in that it shows that…

  • politics

    recognizing racism in Northern Ontario

    So there’s a story around here about a company promoting ice huts that said in their ad: “Please no status card users! You are not welcome in our huts. Equality for all or you will not get the time of day from us and will lose any deposit paid to us.” Since the uproar over it the owner has tried to claim he was just saying that everyone (including natives) has to abide by fishing regulations at his huts (even though legally those fishing regulations don’t apply to natives). I‘m watching on the local news as commenters try to defend the guy, claiming that the owner wasn’t racist he just…

  • homeschooling

    stopping the (home)school work struggle

    One struggle I’ve faced homeschooling – and I know others face it too – is getting a child to do schoolwork when the child would prefer to whine, fuss and procrastinate. I’ve seen it discussed on homeschool forums and noticed a number of people suggesting two things: switching curriculum or going to unschooling. I want to talk about why those aren’t great solutions and what I would suggest instead. Switching curriculum is not a solution because although the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, it isn’t magical. Curriculum is a bit like a relationship. In the excitement of falling in love with something new, we…