Rube Goldberg Style Posting

Why, yes, I did just show my kids a TED talk.  This one as a matter of fact:

It’s about the OK Go video for “This Too Shall Pass,” which we’ve been fans of for awhile.  In fact, we’re just huge fans of Rube Goldberg machines or pitagora suichi, as the Japanese say, in general.  The video is at the end of the TED talk.  It’s not the best TED talk ever, but it contained the following life lesson that I really appreciated, which was that they had to do the little things, which were actually the most difficult ones, first and leave the easy ones, which turned out to be the big ones, for last.

Which leads me to the fact that we used the OK Go video for inspiration when we made our own pitagora suichi during the weeks while we were snowed in and all our activities were canceled.  It was fun.  We used it again when we studied simple machines with our co-op in the spring.  We watched the video and yelled out various simple machines we spotted.  “Lever!”  “Pulley!”  Much fun.

That leads me to a question given by the presenter at the science session I went to at my first homeschooling conference.  She reminded us that science can be divided into life sciences, earth sciences and physical sciences.  Then she asked which one we all do the most.  Apparently the correct answer was “life sciences.”  I guess I’ve been doing something wrong then because we did do a lot of biology last year, but we also did a good amount of physical sciences and I’ve been preparing our own curriculum so we can study physical sciences all next year.  She claimed to be against that bias.  Then she made a face when referencing a pulley.  Then she went ahead and showed lots of examples, the vast majority of which were about life sciences and nature study.  In other words, I’m not really sure if she was against that bias as she thought she was.

Which leads me to the fact that the homeschooling conference in general was a bit of a dud for me.  I bought a couple of Usborne books I had wanted and a game which lets kids practice addition and play tic-tac-toe Gobblet style.  My big takeaway was that there sure are a lot of young earth and creationist science materials out there.  I knew that already, but this really let me know it.  Also, I kept thinking about this recent post from Smrt Lernins about a Bob Jones University homeschool science textbook that incorrectly explained electricity in a way that I found really disturbing.  Every time I passed the big BJU table in the back of the vendors hall, I wanted to make faces at them.  Also, I spotted two vendors selling the Pearls’ book To Train Up a Child. Families following this method have been implicated in the deaths of their offspring on more than one occasion, so that made me want to act out a little too.  Which leads me to the conclusion that while I was glad I went so I could say I’ve been to a homeschooling conference and tried to be open minded about the offerings, I don’t think I’ll be going again.

Which leads to…  the end of the post!  I wish I could make it ring a bell or play the little seven note Japanese children’s show theme song that the pitagora suichi play.  Here.  You can just go see that for yourself instead.

6 thoughts on “Rube Goldberg Style Posting

  1. I’m not keen on conferences either, although I have a few friends who LOVE going to them. They claim they find them inspirational. I’d like to see Susan Wise Bauer, maybe someone like Jane Healey, and or some other controversial author, but most of the topics are things I don’t find challenging anymore. I think why the Christians are so top-heavy at these things is because they are so prevalent and monied in the homeschool communities. They buy curriculum packages too. Most of the secular homeschoolers I know pick and choose and use the library a lot.

    I’d rather save my money for the LEGO store in Seattle, shallow little shopper that I am.

  2. Susan Wise Bauer actually does a lecture series at the Smithsonian on what seems like a semi-regular basis. I see it pop up every couple years and was thinking maybe I’d go the next time around. It’s a history one, but I still think I might find it interesting. And Jane Healy would be just the sort of person I would want to see. I was thinking how what I really wanted was something about brain development or early reading research or anything that broadened my knowledge or challenged me. This was all just… people who’ve homeschooled for a long time talking about homeschooling. No one said anything controversial except for the suggestion that dinosaurs were put there to test our faith or something.

    Yep. Definitely saving my money next time.

  3. Went to a h/s conference today. . . My first in 14 years. Was disappointed in the workshops (h/s parents are intelligent! don’t give shallow workshops!)

    However, there were some good things that came from attending. I recognized that what we are doing “fits” our family. While there are a few cool items that may end up being Christmas presents, my kids aren’t “missing out” by not having this or that curriculum. I bought each of the boys a wooden katana swords (fun! affordable!) And I did get to engage (in a positive, non-antagonistic way) with a vendor selling TTUAC. They’ve actually been mulling over whether to continue to carry it. (Umm, no. That’s a no-brainer to me, but. . . glad they are considering it, though I know it ha$ appeal to vendor$.)

    1. I thought about questioning the vendor about selling TTUAC, but I just felt so out of place and didn’t feel like I could do it in a way that wasn’t just me snapping, “What’s wrong with you? There’s nothing Christian about this book!” I’m glad someone said something though. Good for you!

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