Skip to main content

What Would Tatum Do? (Don't Fret just; Fix It!)

And We Went the Other Way
My life has been punctuated of late with various utterances of “No,” and “That’s not allowed,” regarding our day to day unschooling activities.  These admonishments have touched on topics including sitting on bar-stools, participating in museum classes, and  even helping out at volunteer soup kitchens.  It’s been kind of exasperating to say the least.  For the longest time I found myself sinking into a pit of embitterment.  I almost wrote about my negative feelings a time or two, but then narrowly talked myself out of it after jotting down a few notes.  Each time I’d giggle, and admonish myself with one of our local idioms, “What would Tatum do?”  If you’ve never heard of JB Tatum, he’s a physicist from Vancouver, Canada who may have never impolitely uttered a negative word, as especially illustrated by this, his most vehement of scientific diatribes.

I wondered and wondered how Tatum would handle these situations.  Then finally, (sometimes I’m slow), a few weeks ago, it occurred to me!.  He wouldn’t sit around focusing on what was denied, he’d work towards an alternative solution.  Relentlessly.  And so, my mantra, every time I started to complain became, “Yes, but what’s the solution, how can what’s missing be replaced?”

The writing group we were missing out on because “adults need a safe space to write,” transformed into a freestyle writing hangout.  Sure, we couldn’t schedule library study rooms as we had in the past, but we could hangout in the library lounge, because well, everyone is free to hang out in the lounge.  We can take turns free-writing,reading, and commenting, to build our writing skills, and you know what?  We know so many patrons at the library!  We’ll have another writing group built in not time, and this one without rules.  Write what you please!

The museum class that no longer exists for toddlers?  Simplicity itself.  As it turns out, our museum membership allows for up to three more adults per visit, and an unlimited number of kids.  If we chip in to hire one of the docents we loved in the class that no longer exists, we’ll be off and running!

And as for the bar stools?  Well, it’s always a bummer when a place doesn’t turn out to be your favorite new hangout.  Good thing we have a number of existing hangouts where we’re treated like one of the family, I think we’ll focus on the sheer delight of hanging out at those places!

What are your favorite homeschooling workarounds to “No”?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

The Javascript Google URL Shortener Client API

I was working with the Google API Javascript Client this week to shorten the URLs of Google static maps generated by my ham radio QSL mapper. The client interface provided by Google is very useful. It took me a while to work through some of the less clear documentation, so I thought I'd add a few notes that would have helped me here. First, you only need to authenticate your application to the url shortener application if you want to track statistics on your shortened urls. If you just want the shortened URL, you don't need to worry about this. The worst part for me was that the smaple code only showed how to get a long url from an already shortened rul. If you follow the doucmentaiotn on the insert method, (the method for getting a shortened url from a long one), there is a reference to a rather nebulous Url resource required argument. It's not at all clear how to create one of these in Javascript. The following example code shows how:
var request = gapi.clie…