Science & Alchemy School

The 4 Things I want my Kids To Know

This weekend, I was over at a friend's house, and we were talking about how much money she'd put into raising her kids.  She said it had been really important to raise them to have three skills:

  1. the ability to swim- in case they ever fell into a body of water
  2. musical ability- for the effect it has on the brain (makes you better at math, for example)
  3. team sports- to learn how to work with other people

I said I was pretty sure my mom read that same book or article, because she also was very deliberate about our swimming lessons, piano lessons, and putting us in team sports. 

Image from

Image from

After supper, we went outside and lay on her trampoline, and looked up at the stars.  To me, it was just a mass of lights, but to my surprise, she started pointing out the Big Dipper, Saturn, the North Star, and conjecturing about where Mars was in relation to where we were.  She laughed that I momentarily mistook a satelite for a shooting star.  I was in awe- I couldn't believe that anyone could even identify planets anymore.  I mean, an astronomer would, sure, but a regular city person with no formal training?  I decided that was my #4 on my list- that my kids have to know how to "read" the night sky like that.  While I lie there thinking about that, I sensed that it must really be true, that our ancestors watched the twinkling lights like we watch television, and the connection was so much more visceral and meaningful then.

I also decided I had to incorporate star-gazing into my course.  Logic and Science, and the meaning we attribute to what we observe in the world, all started with star-gazing anyway.

Building my Scaffolding for this Summer

After a terrifying sail on some rough Cape Cod waters.

After a terrifying sail on some rough Cape Cod waters.

It will take a lot to top the amazingness that was the Epic Summer of 2014.  Mr. M and I spent it travelling around New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachussettes, Rhode Island, Ottawa, Maine, Cape Cod, and Martha's Vineyard. We did a lot of visiting, eating, painting, shopping, and anything that enabled us to stay cool in the summer heat.

This year will be pretty different- it will be here in Regina where I'll be doing all my writing and marketing for Science and Alchemy School.  While I can't wait to put my research hat on again, I also know I can fall into a black hole of productivity because my time will be so unstructured.  The thing about having a job is that you have a boss, deadlines, and accountability.  When you're self-employed, it's all on you to keep the wheels turning by yourself.  Nobody will care that you've slept in- in fact, they'll probably say, "Oh well, you must have needed the extra sleep."  Trust me- at 3:00 AM (when I wake up), those "friendly" words definitely drift in to your consciousness and start seducing you.  "I need more sleep!  My friend said I do!"

I've been through this massive unstructured block of time before, and what really helps to stay productive is:

1) make deadlines for yourself where you have to deliver a product or a talk.  It has to be something where if you don't meet the deadline, there's a consequence.

2) make coffee dates with fellow entrepreneurs- individually and in groups.  You want to  bounce ideas off each other. 

3) have someone working for you, or at least pretend you do.  By having someone to assign things to, you have to be thinking ahead, not just in a vague visionary sense, but in practical terms so you've got things lined up for them while they're still working on their last project. 

I'm setting up my summer "appointments" with my research assistant, fellow teachers, mentors, and fellow entrepreneurs in the next week or two, so if you'd like to be one of those people, message me.