Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

This is what happens when you love to lick the very last of the peanut butter from the bottom of the can and yet have no hands. And it takes several times like this to really finish the job. PRM

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Free Chemistry Resources

A few days ago, someone on the WTM Boards asked about a free elementary chemistry program, Inquiry in Action. I saved a copy of this several months ago, hoping to use it sometime in the future with a small group of appropriately aged kids. My own are too big now.

I have become convinced that inquiry is the way to present science to children. I also think scientific inquiry is best done in small groups rather than with a single homeschooled kid. Peer interaction is essential, I think. And the adult needs to be more facilitator than teacher. I did this 2 years ago with 4 kids, 10 to 13 yo. I used Teaching Physics with Toys by Taylor, Poth and Portman as the outline for our activities. I enjoyed it and I think they did, too. Inquiry in Action would have been wonderful to use with my group.

Because traffic to the online book site from the WTM board picked up substantially, an employee of the American Chemical Society joined the board and responded. He mentioned a new middle school text, also free online. Although I need to spend some more time with it, this text looks very useful as well. And I was stimulated to look at the ACS website and of course there are wonderful resources there as well. I'll link them.

Inquiry in Action

Middle School Chemistry

On the ACS website, there is so much material I can only link a few. Just go look.

Cool Science where there are links to some ChemMatters articles such as Chemistry of Fireworks and Chemistry in the Kitchen.

ChemMatters, a quarterly journal for high school students. I love to read this myself.

Science for Kids, with activities for younger kids.

And Reel Science, a site with reviews of science in movies such as Inception and Food, Inc. This looks great.

Enjoy science. PRM

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Living books, not textbooks

Educating Shoshie and Yakov was easy really. Both loved to read and helping them find appropriate reading material for whatever topic they were working on was just fun for me. Spending hours on research at the library or on the internet, I loved it. For science and history, we eschewed textbooks. That's not entirely true. Yakov, the literature/history guy, preferred his science rather straight forward. Shoshie, the budding biologist, read widely for science but she also loved historical fiction. And Jane Austin. She enjoyed Spielvogel's World History: The Human Odyssey as a background text. When she was doing American History, she combined it with American Literature and created a good course for herself.

What prompted this train of thought was this post at I.N.K. blog. I read this blog regularly because some of our favorite authors blog there and I learn about new books as well as older books that are new to me. If you read the article, click through to Joy Hakim's article in the Washington Post. It will make you glad you homeschool, if you do. (And if you read the comments on the post, just know that the grammatical error in mine is driving me crazy but I don't know how to correct published comments.)

Oh, another blog I discovered this week, Book-A-Day Almanac. So many new books.

Noach is different. He has little interest in reading anything not specifically assigned. Neither fiction, nor nonfiction. This is hard for me but I am adjusting. Slowly. And I read a lot of books to myself. PRM

Friday, November 19, 2010

Psychological Projection

"Projecting thoughts or emotions onto others allows the person to consider them and how dysfunctional they are, but without feeling the attendant discomfort of knowing that these thoughts and emotions are their own. We can thus criticize the other person, distancing ourselves from our own dysfunction."

For example:
An unfaithful husband suspects his wife of infidelity.

Roger Ailes, of FOX News who says this about the executives at NPR, "They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don't want any other point of view." Gee, who is really talking about?

Ailes speaking about Jon Stewart, "He loves polarization. He depends on it. If liberals and conservatives are all getting along, how good would that show be? It'd be a bomb." Could he be talking about his whole FOX enterprise?

Rush Limbaugh accuses Democrats of being racists and then suggests that Rep. Jim Clyburn get the House position of "drivin' Miss Nancy." The blackness of Obama has brought out the black heart of Rush like nothing else.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Wayback Machine

This picture showed up on my daughter's Facebook page and it made me nostalgic. That's Yakov from 2006. And this is Yakov today, 30 pounds lighter, after a fitness program and a haircut. PRM

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Classic Movie of the Week

Our lunch movie this week is Inherit the Wind. It also is related to OM Civics, which as I have mentioned before is a success here. So much to discuss. PRM

Slight adjustment

One of our goals for this academic year is for Noach to improve his essay writing skills. The OM Civics assigns 1 to 4 essays of varying length each week. There are additional essay assignments in OM English 8 but not every week. Rather than 3 badly written essays done over the week, we have decided to do one good essay that is then edited the following week. The remaining work is discussion BUT he must come to the discussion after preparing his answers. This prevents my waiting on him to hem and haw and mutter "I don't know. What do you think?" It is a waste of my time unless he is prepared.

Thus each week there is an essay being researched and written in rough draft and another in the editing phase. Editing is difficult for Noach since any discussion of the paper seems like criticism to him. After seeing a review on Strewing: Unschooling Resources last week, I am thinking about using in January. Noach improved his writing greatly last spring while doing K12 lit with a teacher and I think this could be used in a similar way. The assignments could come from OM and the time commitment would not be much greater than it is right now. Having another person to work with rather than me is definitely better for shalom beit. And shalom beit is important. PRM

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bad News Day

If you should have 24 hours when you lie in bed praying that you don't throw up AGAIN and you hurt all over, add to your prayer that it not be the day after an election. The radio is so boring. Even if things had gone your way, how much would you really want to listen to it? Not that much. PRM