I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. -- Thomas Jefferson

Monday, August 24, 2009

From the Homeschooling Physicist---

The main purpose of this blog is to offer information about our homeschooling approach and the resources we have found useful in our homeschooling experience.

As a Ph.D. physicist turned stay-at-home homeschooling dad, my experience as a homeschooling parent is somewhat unusual: I hope I can offer a helpful perspective on some aspects of homeschooling, especially in areas such as math and science where my own professional background may be especially relevant.

Of course, from time to time, I may also offer comments on politics, philosophy, religion, and anything else that strikes my fancy. I do not expect to blog a great deal about our personal lives.

I hope eventually to post systematic information on all the different books, workbooks, etc. that we have used in our homeschooling.

I will not necessarily be posting on a daily basis, but I do hope to post at least a few times each month.

The comment section is intended to be somewhat restricted -- i.e., a place to ask questions about my blog entries, to provide further information, or to politely offer different perspectives. I do not wish the comments section to become a free-for-all for debates on politics, religion, homeschooling styles, etc.: there are many other forums for such debates, and I just do not have the time to oversee such debates here. Any attempts to be nasty or abusive in the comments section will be ruthlessly deleted.

The blogs and links over to the right are various sites that I often find interesting: I do not agree with everything posted on all (or any) of these sites: if they post something outrageous, please blame them, not me. Those links include a Christian libertarian anarchist (Lew Rockwell), a self-described “godless liberal” (P. Z. Myers), and a wide range in between.

Free and open speech is a good thing.

Dave Miller in Sacramento


  1. Cool! I'm a former molecular biologist/biophysicist/tech writer/programmer (yeah, been a bit busy) turned homeschooler.

    I'm finding it easy to find great homeschooling things in grammar, literature, history, etc... but science is not so easy. ;) I mean, the three Rs are important, but I have enough time to do rigorous science, too!

    Do you have a specific curriculum?

    We're using Nebel's Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding for a spine, with added books, museums, *good* experiments, etc. from my own head... but we're going to be done with that book soon and I'm looking for any decent recommendations on what to do next, besides just make up my own. :)

  2. Hi, silvermine!

    Your question gives me an incentive to actually get organized in posting more details about the resources we have used for science (which was a major reason for starting the blog – aside from sounding off on anything that I felt like, of course), so I won’t give a detailed answer here but just offer a few comments.

    I try not to go into details about our kids' exact ages, etc. (because of their privacy) but it does sound as if our kids are a few years older than your oldest, so that we are a bit further along the homeschooling path than you.

    The short answer to your question is that we are not using any single package or textbook series: there are *lots* of great science books available that are not public-school textbooks (which tend to be horrible): both out of print books by, e.g., Irving Adler, and books currently in print such as Hoagland’s The Way Life Works and Jenny Morgan’s The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story trilogy.

    The problem is to find such books, of course, but that is also kind of fun.

    Our approach to homeschooling is “classical” in that we emphasize books and reading and learning stuff of real substance. On the other hand, we’re sort of “unschoolers” in the sense that we’re not wed to any curriculum or textbook series in any subject. Of course, we’re more reliant on textbooks in math than literature, simply because I get tired making up math problems. But, even in math, we wander a lot on our own path, using the textbooks mainly to make sure we do get enough practice on problem-solving.

    Please drop by as you wish and raise questions to encourage me to actually get more specific about all this stuff (otherwise, I’ll be tempted to wander off into discussions about politics, philosophy, etc., which is not really supposed to be the main purpose of this blog).

    I note from your blog that you seem to think humans are descended from fish.

    We do, too. (My wife has a Ph.D. in biology.)

    I also agree with some of the political points you have made on your blogs.

    I think we may have a fair amount in common.

    All the best,