February 28, 2009

Fun With Genetics

JBug is very into Biology and genetics. So she has been asking us some random questions regarding traits that are passed down:

*attached vs. detached earlobes (mine are attached, hers are detached, like her father)
*can you roll your tongue, like a taco? (we all can, though the littles haven't learned to, yet)
*hitchhiker's thumb, meaning, can you bend your thumb backwards, at a 45 degree angle? When the thumb is fully extended, is it straight up, or further back? (we all bend at a 45 degree angle, except my son, who can bend his almost 90 degrees!)
*widow's peek...a semi-v-shaped point at the top your forehead where the hair grows (we don't have this at all)
*cleft chin (nope all smooth here)
*extra teeth (none here)
*dimples (nope, none here)
*vision anomalies (nearsighted, me...JBug)
*freckles (only JBean, only in the summer)
*polydactly (typing this with only 4 fingers and a thumb, same for all of us Just seeing if you are reading closely)

For more information on genetic traits:

Attached vs. Free Earlobes
Introduction to Genetics
Human Genetics: Suite 101
Interactive Textbook: An Introduction to Genetics

February 26, 2009

The Geeks Shall Inherit...

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that it lends itself to a lifestyle of learning.

On Saturday, JBug attended Scale with her dad. He was there to exhibit for Inkscape, something he does in his spare time. (see that cake? He made that in the likeness of Tux, the mascot for Linux). He has manned the booth for Inkscape for a few years, and is on the Board of Directors. He decided to bring JBug, in his continuing endeavor to corrupt her with open source and geekiness. It worked. Here she is designing her own Tux the Penguin using Inkscape.

He introduced her to some women in tech, so she could get an idea that there are real women in tech, and they are empowered, and amazing. She even attended a couple of seminars on Linux For New Users. And then came home and put Ubuntu on her Mac. She now has a dual-boot system* and is really excited about it.

On Sunday, I brought the kids up there after church, and showed them around. The kids really enjoyed it. Hard to believe that just a few years ago, my first computer was an Apple IIc. Now my kids are more computer-literate than I ever was.

*for those who don't speak geek, that means she divided her hard drive and installed Linux, while keeping her Mac OS X as well.

T, who was a geek, but less technical than they are

February 21, 2009

Open Source Education Software

Yesterday, I spent the day at the Southern California Linux Expo. I know, right? But they were having a track with Open Source in Education and I thought it might be helpful to my homeschooling. It was, somewhat. I have some good suggestions for obtaining open source software when you are homeschooling. As you know, part of the expense of homeschooling when you are going it on your own is curriculum. Try this list of sites to find it:
  • Schoolforge.net
    Freesmug (Mac Users)
    Open Source as Alternative
    Wiki on Open Source Software in Education (tons of really good stuff here, everything you can imagine)
    Sugar on a Stick
    Moodle (open source course management system and virtual learning environments)
  • T, who figures that should get you started...

    February 19, 2009

    Suggestion to Increase Reading Comprehension

    One of the neatest things about homeschooling is accompanying my children on their journey of self-discovery. Today, JBug found a solution and I am proud of her. She loves to read. In fact, more often than not, you will find her with a book in her hand. But she reads very fast, and sometimes will miss details. She will end up rereading to catch what she missed the first time. Up until now, this has been a problem. But she discovered finger knitting. And now, she can read and finger knit at the same time. This slows her reading substantially, and her comprehension has really increased.

    I love that she figured this out all on her own. Hope it helps someone else. I certainly wouldn't have thought of it! (And added bonus...it is good motor practice and easy enough for my 7 year old to do, with a bit of practice.)

    T, who used to read really fast, but slowed down over the years, because reading is relaxing