Blog reviews are one my favorite things to do because I get to talk about other peoples' cool stuff!  Learning to read was a common theme during the month of November.  There were suggestions of how to interest kids in reading without pushing reading; fears that society at large would never quit pushing reading; and 10 reasons why it's best to let kids learn to read at their own pace.

Kids learning to read at their own pace factored heavily in RedHeadedMom's post.  She suggests 10 reasons kids should be left alone to learn reading when, and how they'd like.  Many of the reasons focus on not causing undue stress and shame.

Unschooling the Kids provided a plethora of fun tips for enabling your kids to read at their own pace.  My favorite ideas were to ask your kid to read your emails to you, and to write things on the fridge that make them laugh.  Other ideas that have worked for us include frequent trips to the library, (our library has toys in addition to books) and leaving the subtitles on for all TV shows.

Finally, at Jitterberry, the author airs their unschooling fears with regards to the way reading is pushed not only in school, but in society at large.  What's at risk?  Among other things, a kid's right to the sense of accomplishment and discovery, as well as their sense of self-esteem.
“a child doesn’t grow into shame unless those they care about project it”

All photos credited to their respective blogs, except that first one, that's all me :)

### Cool Math Tricks: Deriving the Divergence, (Del or Nabla) into New (Cylindrical) Coordinate Systems

The following is a pretty lengthy procedure, but converting the divergence, (nabla, del) operator between coordinate systems comes up pretty often. While there are tables for converting between common coordinate systems, there seem to be fewer explanations of the procedure for deriving the conversion, so here goes!

What do we actually want?

To convert the Cartesian nabla

to the nabla for another coordinate system, say… cylindrical coordinates.

What we’ll need:

1. The Cartesian Nabla:

2. A set of equations relating the Cartesian coordinates to cylindrical coordinates:

3. A set of equations relating the Cartesian basis vectors to the basis vectors of the new coordinate system:

How to do it:

Use the chain rule for differentiation to convert the derivatives with respect to the Cartesian variables to derivatives with respect to the cylindrical variables.

The chain rule can be used to convert a differential operator in terms of one variable into a series of differential operators in terms of othe…

### The Valentine's Day Magnetic Monopole

There's an assymetry to the form of the two Maxwell's equations shown in picture 1.  While the divergence of the electric field is proportional to the electric charge density at a given point, the divergence of the magnetic field is equal to zero.  This is typically explained in the following way.  While we know that electrons, the fundamental electric charge carriers exist, evidence seems to indicate that magnetic monopoles, the particles that would carry magnetic 'charge', either don't exist, or, the energies required to create them are so high that they are exceedingly rare.  That doesn't stop us from looking for them though!

Keeping with the theme of Fairbank[1] and his academic progeny over the semester break, today's post is about the discovery of a magnetic monopole candidate event by one of the Fairbank's graduate students, Blas Cabrera[2].  Cabrera was utilizing a loop type of magnetic monopole detector.  Its operation is in concept very simpl…

### Kids R Kapable

Just a little note to concerned ‘grownups’ everywhere.  If you look at a kid—and I mean really look—I don’t mean notice a person shorter than you, I mean make eye contact, notice their facial expression and observe their body language—If you look at a kid, don’t assume they need your help unless they’re obviously distressed, or ask for it.  You might think this is difficult call to make.  You might think, not having kids of your own, that you’re unable to make this determination.  You are.  You do in fact, already have the skills even if you’ve never been around kids  It’s a remarkably simple call to make, just use the exact same criteria you would for determining if an adult was in distress.  Because, guess what, kids and adults are in fact the same species of animal and communicate in the same way.  Honest.  If someone—adult or child—doesn’t need your help, feel free to say hello, give a wave, give a smile, but don’t—do not—try to force help on anyone that doesn’t want or need it.

Y…