About ten days ago, I read my newly six-year-old Lydia a science fiction short story that she's since asked her father, older brother, and me to read again and again. It's available free to read online: "A Pail of Air" by Fritz Leiber. My father read this story to me many times, beginning one night … Continue reading Pandemic Perspective: A Pail of Air
Enduring the pandemic has gotten me rereading familiar books more than I'm reading new books. When the stay-home order began, I had the idea of rereading the first six volumes of the Outlander series (the ones I own), knowing that a long book full of adventures helps time pass more quickly. I did read the … Continue reading Two Good Books About Education
Lydia is in kindergarten now and easily picking up the "sight words" and phonics as they're taught. There's no need to pressure her to pick up reading any faster, but I pounced on this opportunity to help her practice by doing something she was really interested in doing! The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one … Continue reading How playing Gollum can boost reading skills
I said that in 2019 I was going to write a series on this topic, and here it is New Year's Eve and I haven't! So here's my outline, and feel free to comment with questions about these topics, and I'll get to work on this in 2020! UPDATE: I've now filled in the outline … Continue reading 15 Ways to Build a Smarter Kid
The Biggest Little Farm and Symbiotic Earth are two informative films that are fun to watch--perfect for raising awareness of ecosystems and how we can live in harmony.
I wrote about what I really learned in college 22 years after graduating--but here, I'm letting my high-school self speak from the perspective of the 11th-to-last day of 11th grade. I'm publishing this on my son's 14-and-a-halfth birthday, as he prepares for high school in the fall. I've just been writing about how I taught … Continue reading What I Really Learned in High School
Here are some upcoming events in our Challenge to reduce single-use plastic products in Pittsburgh: Tuesday, March 5, Allegheny County Council will consider a resolution on plastic reduction, 5:00pm at the City-County Building. Saturday, March 9, a "No Plastic, Please" Awareness Blitz will train volunteers to visit (the same day) restaurants in Squirrel Hill to … Continue reading Help Save Pittsburgh from Instant Garbage!
Well, it's happened with the second child: That moment when a total stranger interrupts my reading aloud to voice the opinion that the child is too young to understand what I'm reading. Here's how I described this phenomenon when my first child was 4 years old: I must say, I got far less flak from … Continue reading Our kids understand books because we read them books!
Tonight I attended a meeting at my son's school (grades K-8) about the decision to hire a full-time security guard and get a metal detector. I meant to do some research before the meeting on the extent to which schools with metal detectors have experienced shooting rampages, compared to schools without. I ended up not … Continue reading Do metal detectors prevent school shootings?
A few years ago, some people from Alumni Relations invited me out to lunch so they could ask for my perspective (about 20 years after graduation) on what my Carnegie Mellon education has meant to me. I was flattered, and it was such an interesting question to consider that I've thought about it many times … Continue reading What I Really Learned in College
My three-year-old Lydia and I recently enjoyed a picture book from our local library, Jacob's New Dress by Sarah & Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case. Jacob is a preschool boy who enjoys wearing dresses from the costume box but is criticized by his classmate Christopher. His mom is kind about his hurt feelings, but when … Continue reading Every school needs a Jacob!
This month I read two books that were new to me and two I'd read before but didn't remember well. 36 Children by Herbert Kohl Mr. Kohl was a white, Jewish graduate of Harvard and Columbia who agreed to teach sixth grade in a public school in Harlem in 1962. The school was only 29 … Continue reading Some Old and Some New: September Book Reviews
Happy Earth Day! Before I get to my main topic, I've got some special offers to tell you about... First, instead of buying anything, check out the beautiful photographs in the Capture Conservation photo contest sponsored by the Student Conservation Association! UPDATE: The sale on PlanetBox stainless steel lunchboxes has ended, but check out our … Continue reading Some Plants Are For Eating
I didn't specifically plan to read about foreign cultures in 2016, but the books I got for Christmas happened to include three translated from Swedish, one translated from Japanese, one set in rural Louisiana, and one about houses around the world--so these are what I've been reading! I reviewed the other two Swedish books last … Continue reading Books from Other Cultures: Japan, Sweden, Louisiana…
This is a guest post by Maria Ramos. Maria is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles. Without positive human intervention, global … Continue reading 5 Must-See Environmental Documentaries
Ah, December, the month when the days are getting shorter and shortest as we try to pack in shopping, parties, preparations for hospitality or travel, and tranquil spiritual contemplation along with all our usual activities! It makes a kid who persistently wants attention all the more annoying. The December my son Nicholas turned two, I … Continue reading The Nutcracker: music for the imagination
As a professional data manager, I still don't get enough information to pore over, so I sometimes spend my lunch break delving into the WordPress stats page that tells me how people find The Earthling's Handbook. One of the more interesting features is the list of phrases typed into search engines that brought people here, … Continue reading What Earthlings Want to Know
My third-grade son and I came up with a game that was a lot of fun and valuable math practice and physical exercise for him, while being very easy for me and using only a few basic supplies that were easy to set up and clean up. This is a perfect activity for families in … Continue reading GAME SHOW!! with math practice
My eight-year-old Nicholas created this picture that he wants you to share everywhere and put in a place where you will see it often. He wants you to think, every time you see it, about what you can do to help animals of all kinds to be safe in this world we share. How can … Continue reading Help Save the Animals!
Huh, why am I still talking about Easter on May fifteenth? Everybody knows Easter was way back in March this year! Well, yes, Easter Sunday, the commemoration of the day when Jesus rose from the dead, was on March 31, but Easter actually is a season that lasts seven weeks in the Episcopal Church and … Continue reading Easter: Is it just a believing?