Skip to main content

Monkey Bars (What Unschoolers Do Instead of School)

This week I’d like to talk about what the gang does while they’re not in a classroom setting, (because they’re almost never in a classroom setting).  I’ll describe one thing they’ve been up to each day, and share what makes me so ridiculously proud about the their daily activities that I just giggle.  So, without further ado: Monkey Bars!

Five year-old No. Two hit a monkey bar milestone today!  He rocketed past one bar at a time grabs straight up to traversing the two bars at a time!  As if that wasn’t enough he then mastered turning around to go the other direction when he got to the end—another thing he’s never done before.  Watching him in his striped shirt, pink tights, and hiking boots with his shock of almost white hair bobbing back and forth as he swung like a pendulum preparing to hit not the next bar, but two bars over, made me grin from ear to ear!  My grin mirrored his as he pulled off his new acrobatic feat.

I love that unschooling allows the gang the time and freedom to pursue physical endeavors as well as mental ones.  As I watched Two I couldn’t help but think, “Wow!  This kid’s going to have upper-body strength and balance in a way that I’ve never known.”  What he’s doing now, with any luck he’ll keep doing, even build upon.  I’m proud of his confidence.  I’m proud of his willingness to surrender his body to chase after a new accomplishment that he decided on—a quality the entire gang shares.

I love that the gang goes up, and hangs out in  trees like panthers and ocelots.  I love that one of their favorite comic book characters is Poison Ivy—generally portrayed as a villain, sometimes as a hero—whose physical prowess is equaled by her passion to interact with as well as save all the green things.  The gang gets to hangout in the woods, climb trees, trek to playgrounds, and make the whole world their gym!  They’re secure in nature!  They hike, they explore, they go wherever they please and believe they are able.  Last night when one of them was headed to the playground with me, she stopped short at the gang’s favorite set of climbing trees.  “Dad, we don’t need to go any further to the playground.  This is the playground!”  What a gig!


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…

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.