“Where can I find free Calculus help for my son?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

My son is scheduled for Calculus next year and I'm really worried that he'll sink and drown.  Where can I find the best free calculus help online?


Paul in Vermont"

Dear PiV,

Ah, the sweet sounds of Calculus!

Nothing is dearer to MamaBear's heart than perhaps, of course, coffee!

But I digress.  :)

There are lots of great calculus resources online, but let me first point you to a fantastic paid goodie:

I reviewed that about 4 or 5 years ago, and wow!

It really helps kids grasp and love and adore the magnificence that is Calculus…definitely check it out.

Other useful thingees include:

Point your son in these directions and tell him to take ownership of his mathematics success!

It should really be helpful indeed.

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

The REAL Way Academic Grades Should Be

Good morning!

MamaBear is currently trekking with her cubs to lands far far away, so in the meanwhile…here's a video to warm the cockles of your heart.

Have your kids ever come to whine at you that their half-buttocked grades are (gasp!) acceptable?

If so, allow me to introduce you to the world of Asian Grades!

My kids are most annoyed that I subscribe to this idea…  :)


Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

“My kid needs algebra math help!”

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

My 14 year old did pretty poorly in Algebra.  What can I give him to help him learn?"


Mark from Brookyn

Dear MiB,

oOo, if there's anything that makes MamaBear's heart sing with joy and glee, it's Math!

Coffee too, mind you, but Math is just plain glorious!

Got a couple hours?  I could regale you with lots of ideas!

But I'll give you some simple ones first.

First, go to the Free Algebra Tutor Ms. Lindquist!  I used that a lot when introducing HD1 to Algebra.  It's quite barebones but very useful indeed!

Next, get thee hence to:

That should definitely help.

But does your kid even wonder why he has to learn algebra?

If so, point him to:

Remember though…

Giving resources, of course, isn't enough.

You have to follow up with him and make sure he's doing the work required!

And that means…

You need to go over the resources yourself and craft an algebra math learning/study program for your kid.

Sure, it might take some time and effort, but let me tell you…it's *definitely* worthwhile!

And if you'd like some video help…

And of course…


Thus speaks…MamaBear

5 Grammar Mistakes That Make Your Kid Sound Stupid To School Admissions

You know, if there's one thing MamaBear hates more than 97 mooses shedding their glistening white guard hairs all over her black karate pants, it's an empty coffee cup.

But that's not what this post is about.

Nope indeed, instead, I will regale you with what really frosts my petunias bigtime:

Teens whose command of the English language would make a moldy sock sound like Shakespeare.


As the unofficial karate mom and MamaBear of my dojo, I'm in the Facebook network of bunches of teens (heck, HD1 and HD2's friends often contact me as well!).

And what I read makes me just shake my head at how kids these days manage to pass the gut-wrenching curriculum "See Dick.  See Dick Run!  Run, Dick, Run!" (oh for those halcyon days of early reader books like:

Personally, I really liked Cliff Hanger…

But I digress. :)

Anywhos!  I read gems like:

  • "On the boredwalk, text me!"


  • "Karate Kids Kick Buts!"


  • "RU aloud to come over?"

and my soul fills with agony and the heavens weep and I say to myself:

  • "Self, at least my kids will be able to string together a cohesive English sentence for college admission!"

With that as a thrillingly maddening opening, allow me to present:

5 Grammar Mistakes That Make Your Kid Sound Stupid To School Admissions

Stupid Grammar Mistake #5 – "You can't loose if you accept me!"

Unless you tie me *real* tight….

Stupid Grammar Mistake #4 – "Don't forget to accept my sister to!"

And her good friends "And," "But" or "Or" (all together now, 'cause they'll get you really far!:


Oops, did I digress yet again?


Stupid Grammar Mistake #3 – "Your going to be so happy when I gift your University with my million dollars!"

Not only is your going, but your sanity and your happiness and your peace of mind too!

Stupid Grammar Mistake #2 – "I love your Greek system – their so cool!"

Their so-cool…what?

  • Their so-cool academics?
  • Their so-cool housing furnishings?
  • Their so-cool appreciation of virginity?

The mind boggles.

And finally…

Stupid Grammar Mistake #1 – "Ur gunna love me at your college!"

Given that Ur kinda sorta doesn't exist…

… Ur (Sumerian: Urim;  Sumerian Cuneiform: Ur  was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate.  Once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, Ur is now well inland, south of the Euphrates on its right bank, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Nasiriyah.

The city's patron deity was Nanna, the Sumerian moon god, and the name of the city is in origin derived from the god's name, URIM2KI being the classical Sumerian spelling of LAK-32.  , literally "the abode (UNUG) of Nanna (LAK-32)".

The site is marked by the ruins of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, which contained the shrine of Nanna, excavated in the 1930s. The temple was built in the 21st century BC (short chronology), during the reign of Ur-Nammu and was reconstructed in the 6th century BC by Nabonidus. The ruins cover an area of 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) northwest to southeast by 800 metres (2,600 ft) northeast to southwest and rise up to about 20 metres (66 ft) above the present plain level…MORE….

Notice how that's 21 century BC…as in, 4,000+ years AGO!

Thus, unless you're:

  • A time traveler who failed to make the left at Albuquerque

    It's at around 1:17…. :)


  • A historian who finished Ancient Greek and now wants to dive into Ancient Sanskrit


  • A parent who wants to, ahem, cure their child of doing bad grammar by making them write 483 times "Ur is a PLACE and not a PHRASE"….

Do yourself a favor.

Make sure your kids talk gooder than everyone else.

The colleges will thank you for it.  :)

Parent  powerfully,

— MamaBear

“My kid wants to make sites online, where do I go?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

My 8 year old asked me yesterday how she can make her own site online.

Where should I send her?


Bob in Montana"

Dear BiM,

Oh, MamaBear just shivers in delight whenever she gets questions like this!

Teaching your kid how to build sites online will be so useful for their future, because let's face it…

That's how communications these days are moving.

Think about it…

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter…..

Being able to join them all into one big wondrous launchpad is a Very Wise Things Indeed.

But I encourage you to look further than simply building a site online!

Remember, your child might be a kid today, but sometime in the 'way distant future, he or she will be applying to college and jobs!

Don't you think it would look 'way more impressive if they had their own portfolio/resume on their own name domain name site?

MamaBear bought 4 domain names for all of her cubs, plus…the standard birthday gift she gives to friends is their personal domain name online as well.

('course, the fact that only her cubs have taken advantage of this, and *not* the 20-30 year olds who utterly need it….that's a story for a whole 'nother post!  Luckily, the only people whom I take ownership is my family, so I simply shake my head in dismay.  :)   )

It's easy to buy a domain name; GoDaddy has them for less than $12/year!  True, hosting them is another thing entirely, but I firmly believe the following.

Smart parents reserve their kids' name as a future domain.


Let me now step down from me soapbox and answer your question.  I appreciate you reading this far!  :)

When MamaBear started her kids on learning about the Internet, she let them build free sites over at:

These 3 sites let your child teach themselves about the ins and outs of site building.

Need some tutorials?

Check out:

And if your kid needs some tutorials, check out:

Hope the above resources help!

Remember, the fact your kid has shown an interest in making her make on the Internet – that's really really more cool than meeting Macgyver at your local food market!  Congratulate her bigtime…she deserves it.

Thus speaks…MamaBear

“Where can I find academic school enrichment stuff online?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

My city's school sucks at teaching.  I want to give more work to my kids, where should I go?


Pissed Off Parent"

Dear PoP,

Oh, how your question brings back sooo many memories! 

'Matter of fact, right now MamaBear is being flattened by her neurons firing on overdrive as she remembers all of the weighty sleuthing she did in her never-ending question to Teach Her Kids More!

Here are some of my favs:




Critical Thinking:

Lateral Thinking:

These should be enough to start you off!

Remember, the key with academic enrichment at home is to verify your kids actually *get* the concepts. 

If they are clueless, it doesn't matter how much "stuff" you dump on them, it will roll off their brains like 16 ton anvils fall from the sky.

Thus, always be open to confusion from your kids and be ready and able to turn on a dime and offer other learning methods whenever required.  Your kids will thank you for it.

Thus speaks MamaBear

Glorious Freebie – Exciting Common Latin Roots Wall Posters


Okay, actually….good morning.

Well, it would be good, really, once I have all of my coffee infused within my operating system, that is.

But I digress.  :)

Over the past decade or so, I've designed nifty neato learning goodies for the Mama Bear cubs that have really been quite the benefit!

And it occurred to me that sharing them is a Very Good Thing indeed.

So!  With that, up for today is the Exciting Common Latin Roots Wall Posters that I had designed back in 2005!

I taped these up in what's now the Hall of Ling (where there's now approximately 305 8.5×11 printed pictures of the Mama Bear Cubs from 2001 until now).  During Camp Ling 2005, HD1 and HD2 had to pick a word daily from that list and either write a story, draw a picture about it, etc.

I first got that idea by reading Frank Gilbreth's Cheaper by the Dozen book – the patriarch of that family would tape up various and sundry academic goodies all over the place.

Interesting note about that family – did you know an official Gilbreth network exists?  You can access it at The Gilbreth Family Online.  It's really quite fascinating!

Anywhos, right-click below on the latin roots picture to save it to your computer (it has 6 or so pages)

Feel free to share it with your friends as well!  It can be a nifty addition indeed to summer camp. :)

Latin roots!

Parent well,

Mama Bear

Immediately Protect Your Teen Children By Bursting The Dangerous Internet Filter Bubble


Well hello there!

You caught Mama Bear after she's been awake now since 4am, powerfully hacking up her site to add ever more goodies for you.  Today, for example, I just finished adding a new tasty Fitness Store – do feel free to check it out whenever you'd like!

But that's not the topic of today's post, no oh no!  Instead, MamaBear insists on asking you this question.


Alrighty then, tell me.

Is content you *need* to know….being withheld not only from you, but your children as well?

I present for your delection: The Internet Filter bubble.  Do make sure to watch it in its entirety…it's utterly fascinating.

Is that scary or what?????

Now, for brilliant parents like us, that's one thing.  We all have the ability to learn just how to uncover where the news is that we really need.

But…what about our kids?

I'm all for filtering out inappropriate material, of course.

But imagine the following…

  • What if your teen, when searching on "diversity", gets shown results replete with political correctness *only*?
  • What if your teen, when searching on "gay", gets shown results that glorify gay-bashing?
  • What if your teen, when searching on "sex", gets shown results that highlight double-standards?
  • What if….

See what Mama Bear means?

It's one thing for our kids to get messages shoved down their throats by their peers.

It's another thing entirely to have Internet search results mimic those peers!

(derived from the types of links your kid generally clicks on etc.).

So what *are* some of the signals Google uses to determine what kind of content to show?

They could include:

  1. where do we move the mouse and mark text in the search results
  2. amount of typos while searching
  3. how often do we use related search queries
  4. how often do we use autosuggestion
  5. how often do we use spell correction
  6. distribution of short / general  queries vs. specific / long tail queries
  7. which other google services do we use (gmail / youtube/ maps / picasa /….)
  8. how often do we search for ourselves

(got that list over at  What are the 57 signals google uses to filter search results?)


Think about your children now.

  • Think about their spelling ability. 
  • Their search ability. 
  • What they click on *most* from their peers.

When they *are* ready to be exposed to new ideas and thinking…will Google and Facebook deliver to them that opportunity?

Or will they be continually walled into their own tiny Internet Bubble?

It's something on which to think, aye?

Which brings me now to the question….

How on earth can you protect your teen children from missing out on knowledge?

It's tough, I'll tell you that!  But if you have a good relationship with your kids, you can run the following test with them:

  • Step 1.)  Have them search on an emotionally-charged topic on their computer.  Bullying, diversity, gay rights, etc.  Take a snapshot (Hypersnap is a nice free utility).
  • Step 2.)  Then do the same search on your computer.  Take another snapshot.
  • Step 3.)  Then do the same search on Facebook.  Take a third snapshot.

Then sit down and compare the results!

If your kids are anything like Mamabear's cubs, they'll *hate* the idea that Big Brother is telling them what it thinks they *should* know.

Use this as a lesson to reinforce that alternative opinions will always exist, and that wise people take the time to see *all* sides. 

In other words, don't take the Internet search results at face value….always encourage your kids to use their brains as well.

Their future growth will thank them for it.

Parent well,

Mama Bear

ps – want other great takes on the Internet Filter bubble?  Check out:

and you can get the book too over at:

Biting Ballad of Both the Brilliant and Brainless Karate Parents

Yesterday, MamaBear had the spine-tingling excitement of attending the local Karate tournament and watching paint dry!

Well, no, I really didn't, but what should have taken perhaps, oh, say, 3 hours, ended up lasting until 8:10pm. 

Given that I had gotten up at 2am yesterday morning, my oh my….that was *not* the epitomy of delightfulness at all!

But I digress.

Let me go on the record for saying the following.

I really hate karate tournaments.

Quite often, the final judging criteria generally ends up being, well, politics.

  • Which dojo is the preferred dojo?
  • Which master has a vendetta against another master…and hence, the students *of* said master?

Be that as it may, I do understand how for kids, getting a nice shiny paperweight is quite the accomplishment.  Heck, HD2 and HS1 both have trophies from karate competitions in the past.

Thing is, though…karate is *not* about winning, nor is it about beating the political machinations that infect the Martial Arts tournaments.

Instead, it's about doing the best *you* can, it's about inner calmness and peace, it's about facing your fears and overcoming them…it's utterly awesome, actually.

As you can imagine, such views are rather dimly appreciated.  :)

Anywhos!  At yesterday spine-tingling display of utter adult-stupidity, I saw two shining examples of the best and worst parenting imaginable.

The best was when a fellow student from my dojo was almost disqualified because he was using rubber nu-chaku.  Now, that was never mentioned before that it's "illegal", but the snarpy judge made the kid (single digits, I might add) stand at 'ready stance' for some time while complaints were made…and the kid told he wasn't using a 'real weapon' etc.

Said kid behaved respectfully, stayed in total control of himself, executed his kata and of course, didn't place whatsoever.

For a teen/adult, that's one thing….but for a grammar school child – wow!

Said kid didn't complain during the whole situation, as well.

In other words, said kid handled himself beautifully, which showed a really fantastic upbringing by both the parents and also by the senseis of the dojo to boot.

And what was the worst, I hear you ask?

The worst example of parenting was when one of the kumite kids (a girl who was perhaps 11 or 12 years old) inflicted several illegal manuevers on her opponent (spinning wheel kick, head shots, etc.).  Due to politics, she was not disqualified and the match was not stopped.  Sigh.  But also apparently, the girl said rather loudly to her opponent, "you're going to be so dead, bitch" prior to the match as well.

Delightful protocol, that.

Call me naive, perhaps…but in a formal tournament, you act, well, formal. 

In a street fight, you psych out your opponent any way you can.

I personally think the way kids behave at tournaments is derived a great deal from the messages the parents give them.

You have the:

"Win at all costs!"



"Do the very best you can, and to hell with the politics"



"Don't worry Johnny, I'll beat up the judges so you get your trophy!"


And my favorite (from my senseis)….the

"Trophies make great shiny paperweights – the reason you attend is to do the very best for *you*."  (Have I mentioned how much I love and adore my senseis, btw?  They're beyond awesome!)

But I digress.  :)

But remember…whatever attitude the kids show….it's virtually guaranteed they got it from their parents and senseis.

So make sure you're aware of the message you're sending to *your* kids.  It will manifest itself in ways you never imagined.

Parent well,