[LATE ADDENDUM: For the next few weeks I will try to list here, right up front, dates of POSTS that contain ideas suggestive for activities and lessons. I’ll use the symbol  “[♠]” (discussed below) either in the text itself, or at the very end (through the DOOR). Please tell me if this is useful. Best way to quickly reach these is through the “right side” archives by date]

[Note: A discussion of homeschooling follows the black spades.”]

[♠] 2-9-13  (For teachers: a good “first class” punctuation demo)

[♠] 2-13-13  (Heartbeats & life–science, purpose in life)

[♠] 2-15-13  (10 days that never happened–kids, curiosity, & calendars)

[♠] 3-8-13  (Why astronomy is really studying “history”)

[♠] 3-20-13  (Story writing: 3 questions to ask)

[♠] 3-25-13  (A neat model for the size of the universe)

[♠] 4-10-13  (Ben Franklinisms)

[♠] 4-15-13  (Creative writing, plagiarism, satire)

[♠] 4-19-13  (Folktales, themes, motifs, Christian values?)

[♠] 4-24-13  (Logical suicide)

[♠] 4-26-13  (Astronomy rapidly finding new planets)

[♠] 4-26-13 (New “Exoplanets”–also a new word)

[♠] 5-10-13  (Lipogram writing challenge)

[♠] 5-13-13  (Socrates’s questioning)

[♠] 5-29-13  (Authors’  Secrets–3 diff. kinds of text in fiction)

[♠] 7-1-13  (Astronomy: the scientist as a “historian”)

[♠] 7-3-13 (“Mohammed,” 2012′s most popular baby boy’s name in the UK, but…)

(We’ve not suggested posts recently–that’s our fault. There are good things

there, however.)

[♠] 9-16-13  (The universe is very large. You can easily track

new discoveries–daily. All kinds of projects are possible.)

[♠] 10-4-13  (“Prodigal POV.” A great, and simple, lit. analysis exercise.)

[♠]  2-19-14  (What is the best government?  For a great discussion of +’s & -’s of gov’t.)

[♠]  1-7-15  #307  (Jefferson on democracy–a simple statement)


George’ (see WHAT tab) has wondered about my connections here, and perhaps you should, too.  This tab is extra baggage for those who formally or informally homeschool, usually kids in a family setting.  I know many who do this and I’m familiar with The How & Why of Homeschooling by Ray E. Ballmann., etc.  (And I’m dancing in the tension pressuring a choice between “home school” and “homeschool.”  Echoes of the evolution of “basket ball” to “basket-ball” to “basketball”  and “e-mail” to “email.”)


Homeschoolers—learners and teachers—are fun to talk to and people, as a group, who I profoundly respect.  And though sometimes they may be a bit more limited in their range of knowledge, I’ve found them to be caring, unusually responsible, well organized, and mature beyond their years:  people I would be wise to listen to.  (So, homeschoolers, those of you on both sides of the desk, talk to me!)  Whether motivated by religious or secular reasons, homeschoolers seem to enjoy reading, thinking out of the box beyond political correctness, and are open for ideas and materials to supplement what they already use.


If so, www.adozenseconds.com may be for you.


There will be a number of facts, ideas, and curiosities that can enrich teaching and learning, as well as provide ideas that can take you beyond typical lesson starting points. There’s always, too, that bright kid who wants–and needs–more. (And, as I’ve said elsewhere here, I’ve taught on several levels and have written textbooks.)  Further, at this site we hope to be up-to-date, and provide source-identified information.  [See the “boxed spade” [♠] for suggested teaching exercises.]


Back to the first concept I mentioned (under the WHAT tab)  Are humans on Earth the only species anywhere that is able to ask why?  That can systematically look far back? That can reasonably predict what may lie far ahead?


Setting religious issues aside, recent scientific discoveries suggest this just might be so.  Arguments against the uniqueness of Earth humans often are complex, and if looked at carefully, they depend heavily upon speculation about things that have not yet been observed, measured, or proved—and may never be.  Whether or not we’re scientists, we need to be able say, when appropriate, “That is a/an ( interesting, good, bad, difficult, complicated, whatever…) theory, but to me the evidence as I see it is (good, bad, weak, totally missing, whatever).”  And to some extent defend what we’re saying.


We need to learn the differences between fact and theory, and evidence and speculation.  And this can begin in Grade 1.  As I taught on several age levels, over and over I asked such questions as “What do we know here?  “What is the evidence for that?”  “What can science tell us here?”  “What can science not tell us—at least so far?” etc. etc.  And the “fact” that we may, and will, make mistakes as we do this should not make us stop such conversation.  Making mistakes, admitting them, and moving on is an important part of learning.


There are few places better than the home to teach questioning and answering.


And no better place to smile and change direction if you enter a blind alley, get in over your head, or flat-out make mistakes.  You’re not really studying hard if this never happens.


All thinking family people homeschool.  But don’t give me a gold star yet.  As you ponder how to do this, or want to homeschool at all, let me pose four important questions to consider:  “To what extent do you (or would you) do it?”  “Who are (or would be) your primary learners?” and “What goals do (or would) you have?”  What (if any) are the special resources do (or would) you use?”  Without extended discussion here, let me make several observations.


My wife and I homeschooled all four of our children.  We used no special homeschool materials.  Instead, we sent each of them to good public schools for twelve years for most of the day-long “detail work” that most homeschool teachers tirelessly sweat over.    After that experience, all four chose to go to Christian colleges  (Taylor, Houghton, and Seattle Pacific), and later three chose to go to secular universities for graduate study–two earning doctorates, and another two difficult masters degrees.  (What they needed to follow their specialized interests was located in these secular schools.)  We worked hard and played hard at home. One additional note: When students pass beyond their teacher in knowledge or expertise, everyone wins.


It was my deep conviction that I was responsible to teach them what they needed for life, and that’s the way my wife and I did it.  We didn’t just send them out the door.  And we didn’t ignore them when they came back.  They couldn’t easily hide from what we felt truly mattered:  “instruction” in values, concepts, Biblical information, basic science, word recognition, how to get information and ask good questions.  And there was endless reading aloud of stories that fit their age…and went a bit above it.


In public schools we felt that some important things were ignored, distorted, or deliberately censored out of their textbooks and classroom experience.  (And I’ve had firsthand experience for several years writing very successful school texts used in public school for grades three through six.)  So what happened?  Soon after our kids left home they quickly turned out to be far better read than we were.  And they all were able to write very well.  Without going into detail—they should express this for themselves—they seem to value their religious heritage.  Most important, they treat us, and each other, with respect, and reach out constructively to other people.  Though we live far apart—often on the other side of the world from each other—we enjoy coming back together.


Many of our friends, however, tirelessly taught much of the “detail work” themselves.  That sort of teaching, that you usually associate with homeschooling, generally seemed to me to work very well, as their children—some my children’s friends—moved into responsible adulthood.   It’s out of place here to discuss homeschooling in more detail, but I’m convinced that “traditional” homeschooling will become increasingly more important in days to come.


So why say all this here?  I foresee that much of what will appear in www.adozenseconds.comcan supplement homeschool teaching as now commonly done as well as enrich the family lives of those who do it (and, as I said, we will mark what we consider material particularly useful for homeschool teaching with a [♠] ).   In our enormously growing sea of information, we hope to share some of the best, or more interesting, fresh, up-to-date, quotable (with citations given), facts and opinions that matter.


Along with trivial moments now and then that we can’t resist…