Friday, May 18, 2018


IEEE-ORC: We are bringing our A-game.

Beckwith Dojo

Another great year with Sensei Jacque at Beckwtih Dojo!

Sensei Gabe
Essy received her Orange Belt this year!  She is a ninja.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


I got into a big-little fight-discussion with a good friend yesterday. He claimed that homeschooling yielded kids who aren't properly socialized; it makes for kids who are indoctrinated into religion without having to think, and that it makes for really bad public speakers.  .... Well, Touché.

So I've thought through most of these points because the first two are what I normally get hit with from nay-sayers.  "Aren't you worried about them socializing?" And I normally say something snarky like, "Yes, I am very worried about them socializing, that's why they are at home."  

I wanted to come up with something original to say about my thoughts on this, but I kept coming back to a quote by Mencken.  Henry. L. Mencken was one of the most influential journalists in America in the '20s and '30s.  He was a bit acerbic; he attacked chiropractors (of all people...?) the KKK, politicians and other journalists. Most of all, he attacked Puritan morality, calling them a religious people who have "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." And if that doesn't make you snicker, you have no sense of humour.  He was by no means a Christian, but I read his quote several years ago, when I was running from this homeschool idea, and couldn't shake it:

I realize Mencken sounds super snide - that was really his schtick - but if we really believe that an education can be doled out by a humanist, secular government without its values informing that education, I fear we are deluded.  All education has an agenda and I am not sure that good public speaking is on the board's list of priorities anyway.  They are really busy teaching 'the new math' and sex ed.  

Here are some photos of Essy's day at forest co-op.  I don't know if they did much public speaking or if they were heavily indoctrinated, but they were definitely enraptured: "The heavens declare the glory of God." 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

EV Pioneers Update! CHRI Facebook feed

So Gabe is famous... and pretty cool.

Young Christians Looking to Make a Difference For the Glory of God!
Posted by CHRI Radio on Monday, April 16, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Almost over...

We did a few things differently this year with the sap.  Jason had some serious boiler renovations and we moved to tubing and 8 gallon buckets at my folks' property to save us from having to fetch the sap every day.  We also bought a 55 gallon drum to transport the sap in which may have ruined the van's suspension for good.  We bought heavy felt filters and pre-filters which made a huge difference in the clarity.  We tried to do small batches because it means a lighter, prettier syrup, but really, once you are out boiling, and there is so much sap still to boil, it's hard to bring it in to finish it and jar it knowing you just have to go back out and start it again and it's already late and... ya.  Late.

I love-hate this homestead-hobby of ours.  I love that the kids have to work it.  I love that it gives us lots of syrup and that Gabe can sell some of the fruit of his labours.  But it's sooty.  It's sticky.  It's dirty.  It's late.  It's kind of ridiculous.

But it is fun.  And it reminds me that as much as I recreate lovely illusions about a previous age when a family was a working unit and lived on the fruit of their physical labours, you know, Ma and Pa and Laura and Baby Carrie and Mary.... the standard little house on the prairie narrative... I am thankful that we live on Jason's brain not his brawn, (even if I do like his brawn quite a bit).

The boys, and Essy, are able to sling sap buckets and split wood, but they will not have to rely on their bodies alone to eat and live.  And so this thin line between the blessings of physical labour and intellectual labour gets talked about at dinner, when everyone is too tired to study for a chemistry test or a theory exam.  And stuff has slipped, for sure.

I want, more than anything, to raise sturdy adults.  I want them to be hard and willing workers.  I pray that they "work as onto the Lord." Col 3:23.   I want them to learn to do all they have to do anyway, without "grumbling or arguing so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine a lights in the world as you hold firmly to the word of life." Phil 2:16  AMEN.  So may it be.

Jason watching the play offs while apparently watching the sap.  ya.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

BAM Top Lobster Tournament

Highlights from the Beckwith, Almonte and Munster Judo Fun Tournament 2018.

All three kids took home the "Top Lobster" award in their weight category.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Glass Slippers

I took this picture in an attempt to capture a discussion about the utility of glass slippers.  Cole felt it was totally absurd that Cinderella would want glass slippers to begin with and had all kinds of practical concerns about the safety of such a material for a dancing shoe and he went on to say that he also doubted the probability that Cinderella was really the only lady in the entire town that had feet small enough to fit the skippers.  "What about some little kid?  They probably fit some 6-year-old or something?"  Essy was not impressed with the pragmatic interpretation of Cinderella.  

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Gingerbread Judoka-man

We have a really, really nice Sensei at Beckwith Dojo.  She made Essy a giant Judo cookie for being the student able to do hold a wall sit the longest.  She beat both her older brothers.  Epic.
Rayven, you are a lovely.


Just in case you were wondering, Gabe's EV team, the EV Pioneers, now has a working race car, which may or may not have breaks apparently.... The team will be a the EV car show in Kemptville in two weeks and then at an EV race in Connecticut by mid May.  It's a busy month for Gabe, but it's been a huge learning experience.  All I have to say is where is your helmet???

Braden Syrup for Sale

We are finishing the season here and we can a few litres left for sale, with a few on hold already.  Get your order in!
$8/half L
Syrup brought to you by Gabe Braden Maple product, inc.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Homeschooling Through High School

Why I believe the Bible - Voddie Baucham

This is one of the best videos I have found to clearly summarize the historical legitimacy of the Bible. It's not a defence of personal faith, which is one of its strengths, actually.  I also just like Voddie.  He is what Chris Rock would be, you know, if he was a pastor...and didn't swear all the time.

Saturday, April 7, 2018


The Bradens are games people.  Cards, Othello, Chess... and I am really thankful that they are because I am not a games-people-person and that is apparently not very good.  Board games and  especially strategy games are supposed to be super good for you.  They make your brain work, they teach consequences, they stave off dementia, they teach you have to be a graceful winner and a gracious loser.

See Dr Stuart Brown's Ted Talk: Play is more than just fun

Here is this morning's (very) early Othello match:

Ear Defenders

I have found one of the best homeschooling purchases I made, other than a used espresso machine, were ear defenders and good headphones.   There are currently two pianos, a trumpet, a violin and a baritone in our musical instrument arsenal and there are often loud things going on while someone is trying to finish math or work on their theory workbook.  Ear defenders for ambient noise, and good quality headphones for thing like: Reading Eggs, Rosetta Stone, Keyboarding Without Tears and Seterra, were relatively cheap and made a big difference in the frustration levels around here.

I also like that these ones are purple.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Happy Bowling Birthdays

Happy 71st birthday Grandma Bonnie and Happy 9th Birthday, Magnolia 
The nicest ladies we know.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Almonte Youth Music

My three and the 2 guys I teach were part of a youth music practice recital in Almonte in the old town hall.  This venue houses a Steinway and Sons grand piano that is worth over $100,000.  More than I will ever be able to afford for a piano.  Not every young musician gets to touch a Steinway, let alone play on one.  They all did very well.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A day in photos.

Our lovely piano tuner, who tunes without the use of his eyes.
It's a miracle to watch and listen to him work.

Cole and Essy choosing their respective anatomy drawings...

"Our dark and morbid hatred of ... the Fox" - by Cole

We found this article from October 1956 in the back of one of Cole's books.
It has the revealing of the Avro Arrow as a main article, so Cole I insisted we frame it.  Fair.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Evolution and my Conversion

This excessively long post is actually an e-mail that went out to a group of earnest ladies wading through Nancy Pearcey's book: Total Truth.  It was in response to the origins debate within and out side of faith circles.

I am posting it because it came up recently with a new friend at my church.  She is highly educated.  She works at a prestigious hospital in Ottawa and knows more about physics than I ever will.  She's struggling with aligning the Biblical narrative (Ahh.... narrative or historical? There is the rub) and her understanding of the age and origin of the cosmos.  So here is my unedited list of resources for anyone also struggling with this weighty and implication-heavy topic:

On Aug 10, 2017, at 9:54 PM, 

As per tonight’s book club ramble by me: Here are some links that have helped me grapple with creation.  I really REALLY struggled with the Biblical account and it has been a slow process for me, like 39 years long...  These resources helped (and continue to help) me navigate my doubts. 

The No Intellengence Allowed Documentary by Ben Stein was probably the biggest catalyst for me to rethink my presuppositions on my worldview of the origins of life. The biggest stimulus being women at my church praying and gently prodding me over evolution.  It’s free on Youtube.  I think the most insurmountable hurdle for most science-focussed/science-educated people, is that I really did assume "neutrality of data”, as per Sir F. Bacon.  I assumed and attached 'fact’ to all I had learned in university.  It is very much along the lines of our book, Total Truth.  I had never found cause to question my assumptions about the science I had swallowed as unadulterated fact, and on the flip side, I had never had the wisdom to "doubt my doubts" about creation.  It totally changed my opinion on academic freedom and research autonomy.  Very good. Very funny. I love Ben Stein. 
Collision - Douglas Wilson debating Christopher Hitchens was also man amazing eye opener on biblical logic.  It was at the OPL for borrowing.  

In the Beginning - this was a brick of text book that was gifted to me by an older lady at our church who painstakingly dealt with my list of questions on carbon dating…  why can’t we assume consistent degradation of radioactive elements into their daughter products?? WHY???  Well, She knew why.  I will confess, I did not read this book all the way through.  It’s huge and very complex, but I did pick and choose topics that bothered me.  I can loan it out.

In Six Days: this is complication of authors some philosophically focussed, but many of them physicists who use scientific language and the jargon secularist are used to, to discuss 6 day creation.  This was a pivotal book because it was able to address questions about carbon dating, etc.

Creation Magazine:  This is a quarterly publication.  Not free.

Institute for Creation Research: This is free monthly.  It can be a bit bombastic, but I have liked having it as a counter to the onslaught of stuff I get in the media.
Other media

Tea time with Annie Kate through her homeschool recommendations, pointed me to some lectures on fractals which were super cool and validating for a creationist worldview.
Is Genesis History? A movie on the biological evidence for creation.  It's just OK, in my opinion.  I found the science a big foggy, partially because I am not familiar with some of the recent creationist theories for the global flood and for the fossil record, so some of the geological info went right over my head. It is however, very engaging and it is a pleasant watch and I like the premise.
God also put several people I really esteemed in my life who were creationists, including a head programmer at Sienna and a physics-PhD-turned-homeschooling-mom.  An aside to defend my 'absolute mania' for this next generation to take the university science departments by storms is that we NEED Christian scientists. We NEED Christian Astro-Physicists and particularly we need Christians in the Philosophy of Science realm so we can have authoritative voices in the wilderness.  We need sturdy places in which to ask our questions.  We need Biblically-sound places to air our doubts within academia.  I also found that the church needs to purpose to be a humble, gentle place to land, when earnest, truth seekers fall off the evolution train.  It is paramount to helping other sisters navigate their origins worldview.  So... like.... don’t rub it in after we realize we were indoctrinated idiots all the years, OK?  Take it easy!

I feel like such poser in these theological forums.  Much of the details of what I believe are still being forged, but I take comfort in both extremes: the thief on the cross, who in that horrid/perfect moment was converted and would go to Christ that day and then on the other end to Solomon, who grappled with God's perfect wisdom (and stumbled…) all of his long life.  

Feel free to e-mail me for clarification on any/all of the links/info.



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Out takes

It took about five shots to get a reasonably serious picture of Essy in her new Judogi.