Progressive Homeschool
Welcome! We practice science-intensive evidence-based education.

New England flooding!

Saturday, October 15, 2005
Q and I went out this afternoon after the storm was over and were shocked to find that our house was surrounded by closed and crumbling roads! We took pics and below you will see pics of the major road through our town, washed out, sink hole growing as we watched.

Other roads around us were simply washed out.




Instead of a rainbow at the end of this 2 week storm, we had a lovely full moon in a purple sky.

October Moon

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Votive Thoughts

votive thoughts

The quiet before the weekend. Woke up before the sun (not that hard these days) and got to start the day reading, finished off the 9th book of the Wheel of Time series. Finishing a book always makes me feel melancholy. With this weather, almost constant rain for weeks now and no sun, makes it seem even more melancholy.

It would be nice to have a crisp fall day, instead we have humid oddly warm torrential rainfall with gusts of wind that make our lights flicker and our computers reboot.

Soon we will be firing up the woodstove and winter will be starting with more serious disposition.

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Doing it yourself

Friday, October 14, 2005
Thomas Jefferson wrote of a happy Virginia farmer whose "estate supplies a good table, clothes himself and his family with ordinary apparel, furnishes a small suplus to buy salt, sugar, coffee, and a little finery for his wife and daughters, enables him to receive and visit friends, and furnishes him pleasing and healthy occupation...To secure all this he needs but one act of self-denial, to put off buying anything till he has the money to pay for it."

He also wrote "Man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can do without."

Today I learned of the death of a woman I didn't know but who I now admire.

She did it herself.

Her name is Carla Emery DeLong and she was a pioneer in the Homesteading movement here in the US. She was also a bestselling author of The Encyclopedia of Country Living.

Please look at her site and learn about her philosophies regarding how to homestead, how to be frugal, how to live lightly on this earth, what a work ethic is, etc.

She had a heavy lecture schedule; many demanded her time, now she is gone.

It is up to the rest of us who resonate with her message to pick up the strand and live a homesteading life, in our own way. Perhaps some of us will become wise enough and able enough in the teaching that we can also help others learn about homesteading.

Our own way of living would not qualify practically as homesteading though it is a deep part of our life-view.

Take a moment today to learn about homesteading and those things one can do to live in greater harmony with nature:

Homesteading links:
Carla's Site
Backwoods Home Magazine
Family Homesteading Advocate
Homesteading Resources
UHAB Urban Homesteading Assistance Board - New York

Permaculture links:
Agriculture organic farming, permaculture, biodynamic farming - All States
Spiritual Permaculture - Calif - Starhawk!

Note that I have googled for these links but I do not vouch for each. If you know of even better resources drop me a note and I will add it!

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Q's photography

Thursday, October 13, 2005
Q was using the camera and caught this great shot of our very twerpy kitten Leo as he hunted her and the camera.


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Its been raining constantly since the beginning of time (feels that way)

Here in New England, we have been getting so much rain that, had it been snow, we would have in excess of 12 feet of snow by now. Parts of western MA are flooding, people have died.

This sort of weather makes me think of the worst part of the winter in the South. It makes my christmas spirit kick in early.

This year, we are going to do our usual winter solstice/saturnalia and am hoping to get more involved with that as a homeschool project.

Anyways, with the gloomy weather, our cats are missing the sun too. I thought I would show one of our cats who sits at the back glass door, hoping to see some chipmunks (who are hiding from the rain) or perhaps feel the warmth of the sun again.

Here is Butterscotch.


See that forlorn look? Thats sorta how I feel, missing the sun!

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The Integumentary System - The Epidermis

Wednesday, October 12, 2005
I have pasted the latest segment of anatomy that Q is working on. We go through the coloring and then I write up comprehension assessment questions to help cement the major concepts in the brain, which she then completes.

Integumentary system - Skin

If you want to get ahold of this book go here.

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Learning about Elements and Matter

We found that science in our old school was taught in a miserable and inaccurate fashion. My daughter caught problems with the materials they sent home, we did too.

When we brought it up with the principal he was able to see right away that the materials were incorrect and he was embarrassed.. I think mainly because he didnt even know about these materials and that his science teacher, who he trusted, could not see how the materials were incorrect.

I guess its possible that some parents who have not had undergraduate scientific courses (and the graduate level courses I have had for my PhD and my husband has had for his degrees) would not have caught this (or cared? I dont know).

To me, it is central to any educational process that you teach the child CORRECT information the first time around otherwise the child will think you dont care enough about their learning to get it right the first time (to do your own homework, as it were).

One of the topics that the old school fumbled badly is very basic concepts of matter and physics.

We are reviewing this with our science/biology coloring book and I have scanned a sheet in and it is pasted below.

matter amd elements

Even with this I need to add discussions and my own figures on atomic structures and the fourth important matter state, being plasma.

Whether you are in the public school system or are homeschooling, you MUST be hypervigilant about the materials that are being taught to your child.

If you buy a science curriculum, you must critically evaluate it and learn along with your child and ask LOTS of questions, make sure it is internally consistent and evidence-based.

For people who choose to buy off-the-shelf faith-based scientific curricula, I have to say that, as a scientist my self, you are not giving your children the best advantages that are available.

Sure, do faith-based history, social sciences, reading, etc.

Just dont kid yourself that the off-the-shelf pablum-heavy faith-based "scientific" curricula will serve your child well if they wish to go on into the sciences, medical world, and other evidence-based activities that require a SOLID FOUNDATION in critical deliberative thought backed up by actual facts that do not require deep-seated faith processing to digest.

You do not have to look any further than the struggles that kids graduating from public school districts who have bowed to theocratic fundamentalists in regards to teaching creationism in their science class rooms have with getting into world class institutions for their undergrad studies.

If you want to get you hands on this book go here.

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Eldest Book Journal 10-10-05

I know you all have been waiting impatiently for the next installment! Here it is.

Eldest Book Journal 10-10-05

"Eragon met a much larger dragon than Saphira. It was a golden dragon. Its name was Gladier. Its rider was named Oromis. Oromis was elven. Gladier was longer than Saphira and also wider, too. Oromis lived in a mountain so he wouldnt die from any fights. He wanted to pass on knowledge to new riders. Eragon was a new rider so he taught him LOTS of spells."

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Q's little sister - arrrrrr

Monday, October 10, 2005
Q's little sister pops her head in to say "Arrrr, I be a toddler pirate, watch yer step laddie."


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Thoughts on Columbus Day

It is Columbus Day, and it is a day of solemn reflection in our household. As with MANY Americans, we are a mixture of the "oppressors" and the "oppressed".

Our family has very strong ancient as well as recent ties to Britain, Spain, Ireland, and Germany in our genetic heritage.

We also have very strong and even MORE ancient ties to Native American peoples in both North and South America.

Q and her sister are related to: Cherokee, Shawnee, Chibcha or an alternate site, and other unknown peoples.

I have studied the Cherokee language and intend to teach it to Q and her little sister. I have also studied various Cherokee crafts and traditions, all part of the legacy they will receive.

So, while Italian Americans are having a cold wet parade in the north end of Boston and others across the US, celebrating as they wish, we light candles; pause to think about what has been lost in the genocides that marked the discovery and settling of the New World by the white man; and learn more about the truth of what Christopher Columbus did in the New World, when they came spoiling for spices and gold. I don't believe it serves anyone who is interested in educating honest, well rounded children to hide/sugarcoat/ignore history.

Early Genocides:
Columbus "discovers" America
History Not Taught is History Forgot: Columbus' Legacy of Genocide (MIT)

Later Genocides:
Trail of Tears - Cherokees and other Nations marched across the land to desolate reservations.
Indian Removal Act
Wiki - Indian Removal Act

An interesting pull quote from one of the links I googled:

"I would sooner be honestly damned than hypocritically immortalized" - Davy Crockett His political career destroyed because he supported the Cherokee, he left Washington D. C. and headed west to Texas.

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Q found a plump black caterpillar with white spiky spots. She saved it (its getting colder here at night) and put it into a plastic aerated container.

Surprise! It decided it was time to metamorphosize into a butterfly/moth/mothra (what ever it will be).

Right now we have a chrysalis. Pics below.

Here we see the caterpillar's home with him in it and some food and droppings.

Caterpillar Home

We next have a close up of the little guy. The caterpillar as metamorphosed into this chrysalis. If you bump his house, he moves! Its not a hard case that he is in.


Some learning resources on metapmorphosis are:

Milkweed Cafe
From Caterpillars to Butterflies: Life Cycles
Butterfly Unit - Life Cycles of Butterflies By Leslie Tetrault

A pdf at the Reading Public Museum site on Metamorphosis

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template changes

As you can see, I have changed the template for this site. Adding a second side bar is a non-intuitive process! There are some oddnesses here that I am working on. For one, when you comment, it may look like the comments are not there but they are invisible for some wierd reason that I can not beat out. If you select the areas where there is open space on the comment page you will highlight the invisible text and then be able to read it.

I have also added an RSS feed (--->) for your RSSing pleasure :-)


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