Five Good Reads (and one bad joke)

Happy Thursday!  We woke today to find some of that pretty white stuff all over.  I’m not sure I’m ready for winter but at least it waited until after September.

On the agenda today:

  • Have Victoria take her online CAT.
  • Do algebra with Victoria.
  • Start poetry lessons with Anna.
  • Have the boys do math on Dreambox.
  • Play in the snow.
  • Watch the crash courses on world history and biology with the three “big” kids.  We love these!
  • Read aloud to lots of children from lots of things.
  • Clean, do laundry, cook, repeat.
  • Find time to write at least one or two articles.
  • Throw educational things at Anna.
  • Make gluten free cupcakes with the kids and decorate them with ridiculous amounts of colorful sprinkles.  Those who know me know that I’m generally a health food tyrant, so this is big.  🙂

Here’s five interesting things I thought I’d pass on from elsewhere….

  1. Arts education (specifically painting) dramatically improved kids’ performances in math and reading. I really wish we could all just embrace art for the many fabulous things art does for kids (emotional outlet, creativity, beauty, expression, fun…) but if it takes math scores to convince administrators that children should be allowed to create then I’ll still take it.  Click here for the article on Yahoo.
  2. Looking for great high school biology courses? I love this post on LaPaz Home Learning about biology! Cell and Molecular Biology for high school. I am intimidated by the sounds of it but would love to try it with my girls.  I’m also floored by this full biology curriculum by Quarks and Quirks but I know it’s out of my league for doing on my own.  🙂
  3. I shared a bunch of cool links recently on A Magical Homeschool on Facebook. Check the page for pictures and info about solar flares, the winners for the best micro pictures of the years (amazing stuff), make your own bubble pages and more.
  4. I’ve started a series on gifted children on my national AP column. So far there is Attachment parenting your gifted child and How to know if your child is gifted — and why it matters.  If you’re up for some more great reads on gifted kids, Is it a Cheetah? is a wonderful article about how GT kids can appear in the wrong settings (such as schools that don’t support them) and this is a wonderful article about gifted teens and existential dread.  If you have a gifted teen and have not read up on that subject, I highly recommend it before your world goes several shakes of upside down.  I also recently started a yahoo list for parents of gifted teens.  If you’re in that boat and want an invite, let me know.
  5. Lastly, here’s a roundup of a few of my recent homeschooling articles: Minnesota makes free online learning illegal and then Minnesota reverses decision on free education ban and for some fun social studies projects, check out Fabulous projects to get kids hooked on social studies (Star Trek history lessons and such!) and 10 Signs you’re doing something right as a homeschooler. There’s also Coursera offers hundreds of the world’s best college courses free and Free 52-week Western history video course offered online for some pretty fabulous freebies.

I started this entry this morning. Since then, I’ve had my computer crash, did algebra, made lunch, started laundry and a few dozen other things, and now I’m finally finishing it. At least it’s still Thursday!

And okay, that’s way more than five reads, but it’s sort of grouped into five categories!  😉

As promised, though, one really bad joke to finish off…

    A farmer wants to know how many sheep he has in his field, so he asks his border collie to count them.

    The dog runs into the field, counts them and runs back to the farmer.

    The farmer says, “How many?”

    The dog says, “40.”

    The farmer is surprised and says, “How can there be 40 – I only bought 38!”  

    The dog says, “I rounded them up.”

    🙂

    Stem Cells 101

    From Biocomicals (creative commons license).

    And from Ask Kids:

    What is the Definition of Stem Cells?

    Glad you asked…
    They do cause a lot of fuss. Basically stem cells are cells that don’t have a predetermined function. Which means they can become anything. They can also do repairs, because they are able to divide endlessly as long as the organism they are in continues to live. They are marvelous little things. You can find more information here: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/…

    Here’s some stem cell research myths.

    And here’s a video that explains about stem cells, where they’re found, what they do and more…