Robert Krampf’s Science

[This review will be redone and in greater depth ]

This site is really awesome! I think you would like it a lot. Robert Krampf is funny and he teaches you a lot of science experiments that you can do and learn, and even have some fun.

You have to be a member to see the full videos, but you can see this full video about making butter for free. I’m going to try it myself, and then I’ll come back and tell you what happens.

It’s $20 a year. I think it’s worth it and I think he’s cute. 🙂

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Website and Movie: The Story of Stuff

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One of the best videos I’ve seen on consumption and the impact it has on the environment and the world by Annie Leonard,

A description from their website:

The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns, with a special focus on the United States. All the stuff in our lives, beginning from the extraction of the resources to make it, through its production, sale, use and disposal, affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues and calls for all of us to create a more sustainable and just world.

I loved it. The fast pace is not initiated by tons of flashy images and a string of 20 second sound bytes. It’s strength comes from the veracity of the facts and statistics and the passion of Annie Leonard. It’s obvious how she leans politically, but since I lean in the same direction, I’m fine with it.

Regardless your political beliefs, the truth Annie Leonard shares about how our consumption is affecting the planet and everyone in it is invaluable. Our rampant consumerism affects everyone…and in the end, without prejudice.

More information about Annie Leonard from her bio on the website:

Annie Leonard is an expert in international sustainability and environmental health issues, with more than 20 years of experience investigating factories and dumps around the world. Coordinator of the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption, a funder collaborative working for a sustainable and just world, Annie communicates worldwide about the impact of consumerism and materialism on global economies and international health.

With Annie’s first hand experience of witnessing the impact of our consumer driven society, I think Annie has plenty of room to be as passionate and direct as she is in her advocacy.

You know, much is made of “living books” in the homeschool movement, authors who write books on topics they are passionate about. I believe this is a “living video”, as the person with the passion for this subject is the one standing in front of the camera and not a narrator. It definitely comes across.

There are free downloadable pdf files – tips, invitations, taking action, group activities, discussion guides and posters to help facilitate a screening of the movie (which you can download for free, btw). The discussion and group activities pdf files make this a great homeschool resource for use in the home or in co-ops.

This movie is thought provoking and well worth watching. When Brhiannon comes home from her dad’s, we’ll be sure to watch this together and go over some of the discussion questions and activities.

Highly recommended.

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Math Help: Fabulous Worksheet Site

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There’s lots of math worksheet and online practice sites, but the one I like the most goes by the name – what else? The Math Worksheet Site!

It’s a free resource, kinda. You can use the generator for all the operations for free, but the membership adds to the types of problems you can create. For a fee of $20 a year or $2.50 a month – and they do have monthly membership – you have additional types of problems to generate.

For example, for addition, the free side allows you to generate a number of addition problems in horizontal, vertical format and the types of digits and number of digits you want to add. The membership allows you to create problems with missing addends and perhaps others. I don’t know yet, but that one sticks out.

Still the free side has lots to choose from, and you can customize your worksheets to a greater degree with those than other sites I’ve come across. This is important to me.

The operations and topics covered are: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, mixed problems, fractions, measurement, graphing, telling time, one hundred chart.

Now, I’m not a worksheet mom. Don’t really care for them, but with math, I have found it helpful to use specific worksheets geared to whatever concept we’re working on and just for reinforcing math facts. It’s nice to be able to tailor make them myself. Brhiannon needs a lot of building of foundation work before moving on in math.

Also, because of the way my work schedule runs there are three days in a row that varies each week where I don’t have her. I have to be able to send something down with her or she will have no exposure to math or language arts, and those are precisely the subjects that she needs consistency in. These custom generated worksheets are the ticket for her. I’ve already used the free addition sheets, picking the numbers to add and the numbers I wanted them added to.

So far I’m only using the free part of the site, but I will probably purchase a membership, because I want to generate a greater variety of problems….and because I’m a curriculum and resources junkie. 🙂

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Storytellers: Mountain Moon Storytellers

Well, The Nickelodeon Spiderwick Chronicles upset me more than I realized. When I woke up feeling angrier the next morning than I did the previous day, I knew it was more than just because of a stupid movie.

This particular total disregard for the story hit a deep nerve in me. It underscores our culture’s general disregard for the artist, whether authors or musicians or any other art form, and evidently a part of me had an intense reaction to it.

It’s so prevalent in our society, this flippant disregard, that you can become desensitized, but at least for me, not this time. I wrote about it on my personal blog, Keeping the Dream, this morning. I’m sure I’ll be addressing this issue in further posts.

In Honor Of
Today, in honor of telling your story and story tellers everywhere, I want to acknowledge one of my favorite storytellers and include two good resources for stories.

Bob and Barb Gingrich of Mountain Moon Storytellers
Mountain Moon Storytellers, Bob and Barb Gingrich, two of my favorite storytellers in my hometown, York, PA. If you ever have a chance to catch any of their events, you have to. They are delightful and warm people both on and off stage, filled with rich stories and generous spirit.

National Storytelling Network: Find a storyteller, find support as a storyteller, learn about the art and develop your own skills.

Peace Corps Stories: Phenomenal resource of stories collected by Peace Corps volunteers complete with lesson plans. The stories are grouped by grade, region and subject area.

These are not just a collection of native stories from around the world, but include a collection of letters from Peace Corps volunteers themselves in the field, and that is where all good stories begin – from personal human experience. I just discovered this website this morning. I will definitely be using its resources in our homeschooling venture.

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Reminder: Great Backyard Bird Count

Don’t forget, the Great Backyard Bird Count is in session now! You can still participate. It runs February 15 through the 18th.

And you don’t have to do it all four days. Just taking the time to stop once and really observe around you, to be mindful of the little creatures that share our space is worth the doing!

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