Skip to main content

Discussing the Coppers (What Unschoolers Do Instead of School)

7 year-old No. One and I were eating dinner after I picked her up from art camp.  I’d been out of town on travel for the week, so we were catching up.  One filled me in on all of her art projects, then took a moment to quaff a little food—if you’ve ever eaten with a 7 year-old experiencing growth spurts, you know that quaff is in fact the correct word there.

As One chewed I said, “So, I got caught jaywalking by the police this week.”  One and I frequently jaywalk, and I’ve mentioned before that it’s actually against the law. 

Her eyes lit up.  “Really!?”

“Yup.”

“What Happened?”

“Well, I was standing on the island in the middle of the road watching for cars like one does when they jaywalk when I heard a voice saying, ‘Why are you crossing the street like that?’ I looked behind me, and three cars back there was a cop on a motorcycle.”

“What’d you do?”

“I shrugged ‘I don’t know’ at him.”

“Then what happened?”

“He said ‘Come here!’” so I went back to talk to him, and he was all like, ‘Raarr Rar Raaoarrr.’”

“Hehehehe, then I be he went, ‘Raardy Raar RAAR raar.’

“Yup,” I replied.  “Then, it occurred to me that he was yelling at me for being in the middle of the street, but he was keeping me in the middle of the street to yell at me.  I’d have already been gone by the time he was done yelling at me.”

“Wait!  You mean he wanted you to get out of the middle of the street but he kept you in the middle of the street to yell at you?  Is that a good idea?  Of course not!”

(One has become a big fan of reflective yet rhetorical questions lately.)

“Did you know that GrandDaddy got caught for jaywalking once by a policeman on a bicycle?”

“A policeman on a bicycle!?”

“Yup.”

“Why would a policeman have a bicycle?

“I don’t know, but he told GrandDaddy he was going to give him a ticket.”

“What happened then?”

“GrandDaddy said, ‘No you’re not, because you’ll have to catch me first,’ and then he ran off!”

“Ohhh, that’s a good plan!”

And so we discussed how one might escape how one might escape a bicycle cop, but that’s a story for another time.

The gang and I have the best conversations with each other.  We have time to talk, to reflect on our day, to tell stories, to listen to stories from the past.  We have time because we don’t have a set schedule—at least not one set up by other people.  Unschooling affords us the time to collect our thoughts, to retell old family legends, and to tell the new ones that happened this week.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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

Now available as a Kindle ebook for 99 cents! Get a spiffy ebook, and fund more physics
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 differe…

Division: Distributing the Work

Our unschooling math comes in bits and pieces.  The oldest kid here, seven year-old No. 1 loves math problems, so math moves along pretty fast for her.  Here’s how she arrived at the distributive property recently.  Tldr; it came about only because she needed it.
“Give me a math problem!” No. 1 asked Mom-person.

“OK, what’s 18 divided by 2?  But, you’re going to have to do it as you walk.  You and Dad need to head out.”

And so, No. 1 and I found ourselves headed out on our mini-adventure with a new math problem to discuss.

One looked at the ceiling of the library lost in thought as we walked.  She glanced down at her fingers for a moment.  “Is it six?”

“I don’t know, let’s see,” I hedged.  “What’s two times six?  Is it eighteen?”

One looked at me hopefully heading back into her mental math.

I needed to visit the restroom before we left, so I hurried her calculation along.  “What’s two times five?”

I got a grin, and another look indicating she was thinking about that one.

I flashed eac…

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…