Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Girls and STEM (or STEAM, depending ...)

STEM=Science Technology Engineering Math
STEAM= Science Technology Engineering Art Math

When Lego Kid was touring  local high school (more on that later!) we ran into an old acquaintance touring it with her daughter.  We've since been conversing about what middle school seems to do to smart girls, especially smart techy girls.  Her daughter, who had previously been good at math and excited about science and tech, has come to believe that it's not cool for a girl to be into those things.  This isn't the only mom I've heard this from, just the most recent.

So, putting the hive brain to use (best use of FB ever!) we've come up with some resources that might help encourage girls to embrace their power and brains, to stay engaged with math and science, and to kick those cultural expectations into the dust.  (and I could blather on about that too. GRRRR)

We found a list of girl empowering movies, a list of math fiction, and non-fiction books  by Danica McKellar, like Kiss My Math and Hot X.  PBS has a youtube series called Math Club, it works to be inclusive and break down stereotypes.   Vi Hart is always brilliant, combining math and performance art into amazing videos.
Then there are organizations that encourage girls in STEM and organizations that work to teach empowerment like Girls on Ice.  Locally CSU has Pretty Brainy which has a workshop coming up this Feb. (deadline soon, scholarships available).

I discovered Rejected Princesses a while back, and while it's not generally about math or tech, it is about women so powerful (and sometimes so grim) that Disney wouldn't touch them.
And really, isn't that what this is about?  Powerful women are threatening to the current power structure.  We're conditioned to suppress our own power so that no one else needs to bother.
Tell you what, if we're going to be suppressed, let's at least make the suppressors do the work, eh?

Damn.  I adore my boys, but sometimes I really want a daughter.  I've spent their lives teaching my sons to be thoughtful, gentle, and kind.
I want a girl to teach to kick some ass.

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 books - lost to busyness

 Sigh... at some point, late spring or early summer last year, I stopped keeping track of the books I was reading.  I'm sorry I did that.  Not because you care what I read.  Not because I care about you knowing what I read. But because I like to look back at them sometimes and see what I've read, and remember the books.  I honestly don't always remember I've read something until I pick it up and start it again, and notice... "hmmm.. this seems familiar".

It's been fun looking back at my book lists to see what kind of reading kicks I was one.   Supernatural Romance might zoom into neurobiology which could bump up against an Austin streak.

Part of not recording books is not reading much, not having time, being a taxi cab mom.  Part of it is not just keeping track.

Ah well, as I tell my kids, you can always start again tomorrow, or today, as the case may be.

So, here are two books I read sometime in the summer of 2015.  :-p

Following the Curve of Time, by Cathy Converse
The Einstein Enigma, by Jose Rodrigues dos Santos

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How it is today

It's been too long since I posted! 
Why? 
Because. 
Life.  Kids.  School.  Homeschool.  But mostly because FLL.

Seriously, why did I do this again?  Oh, yea, because Hot Dog begged me to find him a team, and then told me he really, really, REALLY wanted me to be his coach.   You know, like I did for his brothers.  Oh the guilt... so I did - find him a team, and agreed to  co-coach it.  Two weeks in he informed me he hated it and wanted to quit.  Lovely (not).  I had to explain the meaning of commitment, and team work, and sucking-it-up.

Now, today we are 3 days from our local tournament, piled high with extra practices, but we can see the end.  How bad is it that I'm hopeful this team won't go to state?  (not like that last team that I was convinced couldn't go to state, but did)

Homeschooling wise we're deeply enmeshed in FLL meetings, just barely eeking out time for our basic academics and lessons.   We've been so busy I honestly don't have any idea what next semester will look like.  Perhaps there will be a big gaping hole of time that Hot Dog and I will struggle to fill. (She says hopefully)  However, a friend has mentioned an underwater robotics program...

Both my older boys, Bit Boy and Lego Kid, are loving their respective schools.  Lego Kid is in the process of picking out his high school and planning for that next stage of his education, even while he's learning the basics of how to "do school" in his IB middle school.   Bit Boy has scheduled next semester, which will include repeating Calc I.  Not because he was failing but because he's set his sights on one of the most exclusive engineering schools in the USA and wants an solid A on his transcript for this core class.  (Welcome to the politics of college admissions.  Ugh)

One day last month I clocked 134 miles on my car's odometer.  134mi.  It was a Wed, which is our crazy day.  I didn't leave down, I was just being the taxi-mom getting 3 different kids to school, to lessons and home.  No wonder I'm tired and have no time. While Bit Boy bikes between his campuses, I still have some guilt around our fossil fuel use.

That guilt did not stop me from gratefully turning on our gas fireplace last week during our single digit highs, nor did it stop me from driving Bit Boy between his campuses one day (rather than him biking in the 9 degree frozen slush).  I accept that I am contradictory and am a work in progress.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How it used to be...

It's Saturday.  Such a lovely day, and today in particular shows me what I've been missing with two kids in school.

Bit Boy is constructing an art/computing project using computer bits purchased last month at our church's rummage sale. He hopes to have it done by the NoCo Maker Faire the first weekend in October.  Lego Kid and Hot Dog are down working on the new EV3 to build a chassis for an FLL robot for Hot Dog's team to test.  They're all happy, working together, making things, and learning without even realizing it.

It hasn't been like this for a while.  Bit Boy is carrying 12 college credits, including Calculus I.  He's being academically challenged for the first time since starting school.  "I might be a 'B' Mom" he told me with concern.  Lego Kid has been enjoying the social aspect of middle school, but has been overwhelmed with the volume of homework and writing.  "Mom, will it always be like this?  Will I have any time for myself before winter break?"  Hot Dog is missing his brothers, and feeling a combination of overwhelmed and bored with a schedule that includes lessons for violin and piano, 4 hrs of FLL practice/week, chess club, jujitsu and soccer.  He says he'd like to give up FLL, but since I'm the coach, and have no older kids around to take care of him if I'm not home, he'd have to come with me anyway.  He might as well participate.  I've been feeling super busy, not with my own stuff, which has taken a back seat this year, but just with my 'work' as a taxi driver for 3 kids all going in different directions.

It's nice to have this day at home, interrupted only by a much anticipated soccer game for Hot Dog.  We used to have days like this, one after the other.  I think my teens are happy to be in school, so I'm happy for them.  But, my oh my, homeschooling is sweet.