I’ve seen lots of posts about how to engage the kids while we are all in quasi lock-down, but what about the grown-ups? We empty-nesters, not-yet-nesters, or never-nesters deserve some fun, too. Here’s one for all of you. Consider spending 30 minutes a day on these. It might calm the mind and you could learn a thing or two for the next trivia night.
You know you want to be better at math, and is it turns out, all it takes is a little free time. I’m working statistics to better understand the path of COVID-19, but algebra and geometry are pretty great for planning the home renovations you are dreaming of now that you’re cooped up all the time.
Here’s a link to Khan Academy, but there are hundreds of options.
Sharpen those pencils.
Time Hop Tuesdays
How the heck did we get here? That is the fundamental question for an amateur historian (apologies to the professionals). Whether you want to know when something happened or get a basic understanding of the implications/origins of important historical events, now is the time to look it up and do a little reading. Believe it or not, Wikipedia is an OK place to start. Just remember to follow their resource links to get a bigger picture.
- I started here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death for obvious reasons.
- I also enjoy the original texts when I can find them: https://www.usa.gov/history#item-37587
- Really longing for FDR this week, so poked around the Museum in Hyde Park https://www.fdrlibrary.org/-roosevelts-on-film
- Museum Websites are also doing an awesome job at providing resources and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them. I like the Smithsonian: https://www.si.edu/
I am the queen of “that’s a pretty bird/plant/tree” with no idea what I’m looking at. Are you curious about the natural world, but never really bother to check things out? Now’s your chance. Bonus points for taking a walk outside (with appropriate distance) to identify some of those birds, squirrels, trees, and plans.
Here are two sites to get you started, but really there are a million.
- American Museum of Natural History https://www.amnh.org/
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences https://naturalsciences.org/
I always meant to take a comparative religion class, but it never seemed to fit into my schedule. Instead of committing to an entire course or degree, I’m going to start with just learning a little about everyone’s faith. Think how that could bring us together!
- I love Karen Armstrong’s work. Here’s a link to an interesting talk.
- You could splurge for one of the Great Courses https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/comparative-religion.html
- Or pick a text, any text and just read https://historylists.org/other/10-most-influential-sacred-texts-in-history.html
Fact Check Fridays
Today is the day to test your knowledge. Pick one news story and do your own research. There is no such thing as a bias-free report, but there are reports that are better researched and sourced than others. So, I recommend you choose a source you tend to trust and work from there.
- There are some interesting lesson plans out there on how to be a savvy media consumer https://uwyo.libguides.com/fakenews/lessonplans
- And there’s Snopes https://www.snopes.com/ or Annenberg’s https://www.factcheck.org/ but they have already done the work for you.
- If you feel ambitious, you might try reading Jacques Ellul’s classic work Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes or Stuart Ewen’s PR-A Social History of Spin.
Or you could simply start on by picking a news story you just read and then ask yourself what else you would need to know to believe it. Then dig in to find out. Consider this activity an inoculation against nonsense.
You did wildlife on Wednesday, but there is a lot more you can learn about science. Let’s face it, we forgot most of what we learned in school and given the current state of affairs, we should probably level up our science knowledge.
- Boston Museum of Science has a daily live stream https://www.mos.org/MOSatHome
- Physics Girl Dianna Cowern is fun: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Dianna+Cowern&FORM=RESTAB
- And why should kids have all the fun? https://www.businessinsider.com/8-awesomely-simple-science-experiments-you-can-do-at-home-2016-7
- Or try my husband’s favorite, Bill Bryson’s, A Short History of Nearly Everything. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004CFAWES/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
It is Sunday, and you could reserve today for the great binge tv experience. But you probably already made it to the bottom of your Netflix list (which, we didn’t know was possible before COVID-19, as my son pointed out). So, here is your opportunity to either become a Superhero nerd who learns all about the ones that exist, enjoying whatever medium you like. Or, you could be come a designer of a new superhero, and work to even the representation of all kinds of people. I’m thinking about Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
I can’t draw at all, but now could be the time to learn. Here are some tutorials.
Chris Hart has a bunch of tutorials on drawing superheroes.
Or there’s this wonderful collection of resources here for drawing in general
Or you can skip the superheroes and just tune in to Bob Ross for some happy little clouds.
Have fun everyone.
PS: This is not my weekly blog. I’m just taking a break from the WebEx meetings.