Saturday, February 28, 2015

Beautiful Feet Modern American and World History...Christmas in Februray

It was like Christmas in February when our box arrived all the way from California!

I'm excited to announce, we'll be trying the NEW Beautiful Feet Modern American and World History course!   Just look at all these great books....

....don't they look fabulous!  The study covers 1860 to modern times and is geared for 5th-8th grade.  I plan to spend over a full year on this program beginning now, 2014-2015 school year, as we'll be studying the Civil War in our third term, and continuing next school year, 2015-2016, when we'll finish our first complete history rotation in modern times.  Since I'm stretching the study, I do plan to add books and some commentary from the TruthQuest American History for Young Students III guide.  Nearly all the BF books shown above are listed in TruthQuest's AHYS II & III, which makes them double delicious!  ...Even Levi is excited ;-)

Are you beginning to plan your 2015-2016 school year?  I'd love to hear about it.  Please consider leaving a comment below....

Friday, February 27, 2015

Term Two Review - Including Book List 2014-2015

It's hard to believe we're two-thirds of the way through our school year!  We took a little time off from our book studies this week.  However, the kids were still busy with enrichment activities including LEGO Club, Knitting Club, Keepers of the Faith, Choir, Art, and Piano Lessons.  They did continue math throughout the break and I had a read aloud going.   Speaking of which, here is our list of Term 2 2014-2015 History Read Alouds...

Abe Lincoln Grows Up by Carl Sandburg
Jed Smith: Trailblazer & Trapper by Frank Latham
The Story of John J. Audubon by Joan Howard - We read the first five chapters and decided to stop and read the following book instead.
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies
The Seasons Sewn: A Year in Patchwork by Ann Whitford Paul 
The Erie Canal by Peter Spier
The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal by Cheryl Harness
Trail of Apple Blossoms by Irene Hunt
The Story of the Santa Fe Trail by Judy Alter
Along the Santa Fe Trail by Marian Russell & Ginger Wadsworth
Young John Quincy by Cheryl Harness
Andrew Jackson by Clara Ingram Judson
Who Let Muddy Boots Into the White House by Robert Quackenbush
Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac
Kit Carson Mountain Man by Margaret Bell
Quit Pulling My Leg: A Story of Davy Crockett by Robert Quackenbush
Susanna of the Alamo by John Jakes
Amistad Rising: A Story of Freedom by Veronica Chambers
Nettie's Trip South by Ann Turner
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Zia by Scott O'Dell
Jessie Benton Fremont: California Pioneer by Marguerite Higgins
Patty Reed's Doll by Rachel K. Laurgaard
Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi

Overall it was a good term.  I did switch a few things up that weren't working from our original 2014-2015 curriculum.   With mixed feelings on my part, Riley dropped Latina Christiana I.  She was struggling with this course and is also using Michael Clay Thompson's Town Level, which includes Caesar's English, a study of Latin stems.  I do want her to have some exposure to Latin, but maybe both programs at one time were too much.  She also dropped Logic of English Essentials and went back to All About Spelling.  And, I'm afraid we've grown lax in our Plutarch study, but I aim to get back at it soon.

I'm still using Bible Study Guide for All Ages, however, I changed the way I'm using it.  It just felt too classroom oriented.  I now simply read the recommended passages, the kids narrate, and we discuss.  Occasionally, they complete map work or an activity, but I'm not requiring all the busy work.

After finishing God's Design for Heaven and Earth, Our Planet Earth first term, we were scheduled for Our Universe second term.  However, rather than read it from start to finish, I chose various sections to study, supplementing with Master Books New Astronomy Book by Danny Faulkner.  The full color photos and more up to date information was pleasing. 

Ruben started a new online math program.  ST Math is currently running a pilot for homeschoolers and he was able to sign on for the second semester.  ST (spatial-temporal) Math is game based instruction designed to boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning.  It was created from neuroscience research.  I was sold after watching ST Math's TED talk by creator, Matthew Peterson

Ruben has also started cursive writing using Logic of English's Rhythm of Handwriting.  Here again, I'm not using the program as written.  I've modified it to meet Ruben's needs.  We've been working through it slow and steady.  If he can give me 2-3 samples of his best writing of 3-4 different letters per day, I call it good.   After learning some new letters, we build words, writing on the chalk board, using the letters he's learned.  For example, after learning how to write "the swing letters", i, t, u, s, j, p, r, and w, we put the letters together, forming and writing words such as it, sit, pit, us, just, etc.  From this approach, he's starting to take note of cursive when he sees it.  The other day, Ruben read a cursive word on the back of a semi while I was driving on the highway.  It's very exciting to see the kids apply concepts they're learning to every day life.  This is one of the many blessings of homeschooling!!

As mentioned above, we've picked up choir, art and piano lessons the last couple of weeks of second term.  These enrichment activities will continue into third term.  We are blessed to have wonderful, organized, extra curricular homeschool activities in our area. The kids are enjoying it and I look forward to time spent with other like minded moms while we wait for our kiddos :)  It's a win, win!

How's your school year going?  I love comments!  Feel free to leave kind words below...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Island of the Blue Dolpins & Zia....BF History of California...

After reading aloud Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, the kids wanted to follow up with the sequel, Zia.  Both books are part of the Beautiful Feet History of California study.  I read them at bedtime for a combination of history and literature.  We used the BF guide for discussion, however, I didn't require any notebooking on either book.

Island of the Blue Dolphins tells the story of Karana, a young girl who is abandoned on her native people's island off the coast of California.  The book presents the story of her life in isolation there for 18 years, where Karana shows undaunted courage.  Island of the Blue Dolphins is based on a true story.  The kids really enjoyed the book.

As noted above, Zia is a sequel to Island of the Blue Dolphins, so naturally the kids wanted to read more.  Zia started and ended strong, but there was a lag in the middle where I lost interest and felt a bit confused.

Zia is the fictional niece of Karana, who attempts to rescue her from the island.  Zia lives at the Santa Barbara Mission.  The book gives a good overview of life at the missions for indigenous California natives.   I won't give away the story, but will suffice to say the ending is bittersweet...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Patty Reed's Doll...The Donner Party

Patty Reed's Doll by Rachel K. Laurgaard is the story of the "Donner Party", a group of pioneers stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the winter of 1846.  The party was traveling west from Springfield, Illinois to Sutter's Fort, California when they were trapped by heavy snows for months without food.  Many of them died, but little 8-year old Patty Reed survived.  Patty secretly carried a special friend along the way, a tiny wooden doll she called "Dolly".  The book is Patty's story as told by Dolly.

Patty Reed's Doll is a wonderful account of the true life experiences pioneers faced.  Laurgaard pieced together Patty's story from letters, journals, and stories told by the Donner survivors.  I learned, laughed, and cried.  There were many moments where the kids sat on the edge of their seat waiting to see what would happen.   There is a map at the beginning of the book that we copied and pasted into the kid's notebooks so we could follow along on the journey.  There is also a photo of  Dolly, who today, sits in a glass case at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park in Sacramento, California. 

I highly recommend Patty Reed's Doll if you are studying the Donner Party, Westward Expansion, California, or just looking for a good read.  The book is recommended reading for Beautiful Feet's History of California guide and TruthQuest history.  Below are samples of the kid's notebook pages that accompany Patty Reed's Doll....

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Defining Charlotte...Character

As I'm reading through Charlotte Mason's six-volume series, I'm finding many new and unfamiliar words.  Our language has changed much over the last century.  Being a lover of lexicon, I find it unfortunate that we've lost so many great words from our everyday vocabulary.  In my educational quest, I usually read, noting words I'm unsure of, and then look them up later to understand the full meaning.  I believe this is key to understanding Charlotte's writings in context.

At our last CM Book Club discussion, several words came up with similar meaning.  Words that we often use interchangeably, like character, morals, virtue, habits, and ethics.  I've decided to start a series of posts attempting to define some of these words as Charlotte wrote them.  Obviously, I cannot read her mind and unfortunately, I cannot contact her for clarity.  However, I hope not only to give meaning for better understanding to those interested in learning more about Charlotte's methods, but to prompt others who may be unfamiliar with Charlotte Mason's methods to study her writings.

Our first word is....



Middle English caracter, from Latin character mark, distinctive quality, from Greek charaktēr, from charassein to scratch, engrave; perhaps akin to Lithuanian žerti to scratch
First Known Use: 14th century

Charlotte wrote an entire volume on the "Formation of Character" (volume 5) so I believe this is a good place to start.  Volume 5's subtitle is Shaping the child's personality.  This gives us a good indication of  Charlotte's meaning of the word character as it relates to personality.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, character is the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone's personality.   A further definition is one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual.   When consulting the same online reference, I found the word personality to mean the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people. 

I'll leave you to ponder some of Charlotte's thoughts on character....

But the one achievement possible and necessary for every man is character; and character is as finely wrought metal beaten into shape and beauty by the repeated and accustomed action of will.  We who teach should make it clear to ourselves that our aim in education is less conduct than character; conduct may be arrived at, as we have seen, by indirect routes, but it is of value to the world only as it has its source in character.  (A Philosophy of Education, Vol. 6, p 129)

Let us take it to ourselves that great character comes out of great thoughts, and that great thought must be initiated by great thinkers; then we shall have a definite aim in education.  Thinking and not doing is the source of character.  (A Philosophy of Education, Vol. 6, p 278)

Disposition and Character. - If heredity means so much - if, as would seem at the first glance, the child comes into the world with his character ready-made–what remains for the parents to do but to enable him to work out his own salvation without let or hindrance of their making, upon the lines of his individuality?  The strong naturalism, shall we call it, of our day, inclines us to take this view of the objects and limitations of education; and without doubt it is a gospel; it is the truth; but it is not the whole truth.  The child brings with him into the world, not character, but disposition.  He has tendencies which may need only to be strengthened, or, again, to be diverted or even repressed.  His character - the efflorescence of the man wherein the fruit of his life is a - preparing  - is original disposition, modified, directed, expanded by education; by circumstances; later, by self-control and self-culture; above all, by the supreme agency of the Holy Ghost, even where that agency is little suspected, and as little solicited.  (Parents and Children, Vol. 2, p. 22-23) 

Here's how one homeschool mom teaches character in her home.  I think it's in line with what Charlotte was suggesting....

Thursday, February 19, 2015

John C. and Jessie Ann Fremont, California Pioneers...

We recently finished reading Jessie Benton Fremont, California Pioneer by Marguerite Higgins as part of the Beautiful Feet History of California guide.  The Fremont's were instrumental in California's admission to the Union.  John C. Fremont was a pioneer, explorer, and statesman.  His wife Jessie Ann penned his exploration journals of the West.  She showed great courage and strength time and time again through adversity. 

The Fremont's were an interesting couple.  Their deep love for each other, as well as their country shined through.  Higgins book was well written.  However, the chapters were a bit long to read in one sitting, especially for younger children.  Next time around, I may split them in half. 

Below is a photo of RileyAnn's notebooking page....
I was gifted a copy of Jessie Benton Fremont, California Pioneer in exchange for a review.  However, all opinions are solely mine based upon my experience with the book.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Commonplace Book.....Henryk Sienkiewicz

It seems that in these times virtue has no reward and the procurer makes more money than the one practicing virtue.  -Henryk Sienkiewicz, Quo Vadis?

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Study of Geography....

...But the peculiar value of geography lies in its fitness to nourish the mind with ideas, and to furnish the imagination with pictures.  Herein lies the educational value of geography. - Charlotte Mason

How do you incorporate geography into your day?  

This was the question in a recent conversation on a Yahoo Group.  I thought I would include my response with some explanation here since this is a common question.   It seems we often set geography aside thinking it's one more thing to add to our day.  Quite the contrary, geography should not be a separate subject, but should fall naturally into your other studies. 

First off, take a look here at what Charlotte Mason wrote about teaching geography.

Next, let's define geography.  According to an online Google search, geography is the study of the earth and its features and of the distribution of life on the earth, including human life and the effects of human activity.  In other words, geography includes not only physical features of the earth (i.e mountains, oceans, plains, etc.), but also the cultural ways of various people groups.  Therefore, the study of geography is two fold. 

Now, to the question at hand.  I teach geography by reading great literature, misc. historical works, and biographies.  Then studying the maps/places/cultures from the setting of the story.  I've found meaning in putting people and places in context.  This promotes long term knowledge.  While studying the Bible, we learned about ancient civilizations/places...Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc. as well as the Nile River, deserts, and the Mediterranean Sea.  As I'm reading, either before or after, I take a few minutes to discuss and show the setting on a map.

Travel is another great way we study geography.  Our family was fortunate to take a vacation out west a few years back, covering nine states.  Seeing mountains, rivers, and an ocean first hand was the perfect way to inspire geographical awe in God's creation.  However, you do not necessarily need to take a family vacation to be awe inspired.  Introduce your children to natural geography be stepping outside your home.  Take a look at the landscape.  What do you see?  Maybe there's a mountain range or a wetland.  Whatever it may be, take advantage of it!

In addition, some resources I've drawn from over the years for geography are...

Sonlight -I used Core A/K Introduction to World Cultures when the kids were young.  It was a wonderful year of reading about misc. people and places. 

Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason - This was our first official "geography book". 

Galloping the Globe by Pettit & Mullins - We spent two years studying many countries and cultures by reading living books, cooking regional/cultural recipes, notebooking, and interacting with artifacts from different regions around the world. 

A Child's Geography of the World by V M Hillyer - Great living book!!

Maps, Charts, Graphs - I did use this workbook series one year hoping to teach map reading and compass skills.  Though the kids liked it well enough, I don't know that they really gained anything from it.  I found the best way to learn map reading skills and directionality is again, by hands on experience.  We do not have a GPS.  When we travel, we use an atlas or I print maps from MapQuest.  When the kids ask "How much farther?", I hand them the map and they plot our course.  It's a great distraction to that most annoying question and they're learning while they're at it! 

Beautiful Feet Geography - We're currently using the guide and the Holling C. Holling books in addition to our history reading.  I'm planning a future post reviewing this wonderful set. 

At one point, I had a map of the world under a plastic see through table cloth on the dining room table.  This made an excellent conversation piece at dinner.  Sometimes, we would also have the nightly news on in the background and the kids were locating places mentioned on the news while eating.  This sparked many interesting discussions.  

Material World and Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel are great living books!  Our kids love to page through them and then locate the places on a map. 

This blog post from Simply Charlotte Mason explains my preferred method of teaching geography.  It's not a quick method, but I believe it lasts....

Though, we've referenced many maps and drawn maps, we haven't officially incorporated "map drill" in our homeschool up to this point.  I'm researching this option for future years.

What are your favorite geography resources/living books?  Please leave comments below....

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine Eve Drama....and Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud

The kids were busy making paper hearts this morning... 

I encouraged them to lay low after the drama we had here last night.  The boys were "playing" and Ruben fell backward, hitting his head on the corner wood trim.  We ended up in ER at 10:30 p.m.   He received six staples... 

It's one of those things you fear as a mom, praying every day to either be spared or for the courage to endure if it has to happen.  Surprisingly, I endured.   I'm the girl who panics at the sight of blood and let me tell you, head trauma is not for the faint at heart.   I am utterly convinced my Lord was there with us every step of the way!!

On this Valentine's Day, as I reflect, I'm thankful for that kind, loving and merciful God.   I'm also thankful He delights me daily through The Farmer and our children.   In closing, I'm including a clip of one of my many favorite songs.  It's reminds me of a beautiful never ending love...   

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Avoiding Homeschool Burnout...

February seems to be burnout month.  I know winter has been looooonnnggg here in WI and we're all more than a little stir crazy!   So today, I thought I'd post some links with helpful tips and encouragement on beating those burnout blahs...

1.Brandy Vencel at Afterthoughts has been posting a series of blogs called Preventing Homeschool Burnout.

2. I loved this post by Pam at Ed Snap Shots on The Ten Best Things You're Not Doing for Your Homeschool! You might say, now wait a minute Melissa, I'm burnt out and your including a list of things for me to add to my homeschool!  Actually, Pam's list is everything I find comforting about homeschooling.  By following these 10 easy steps, you will be set free from the daily grind.  I see it as simplifying :)

3. Does math got ya down?!  Take a break from the textbook and try some Real Living Math: A Fresh Approach to Teaching.  

4. Lori Lane, from The End in Mind, does a wonderful job of describing homeschool burnout with a symptom checklist.  She has some great tips for coping as well as prevention here in Homeschool Burnout: Rising from the Ashes.   She's also currently airing of series of podcasts over the next five weeks on Avoiding the Homeschool Blues

5. And last, but not least, I watched the following webinar today that Jimmie Lanley, from Jimmie's Collage, shared on behalf of Bright Ideas Press.

So what have you been doing to prevent homeschool burnout? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please leave comments below...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Battle of the Alamo....

I did not know the story of the Alamo before reading Susanna of the Alamo by John Jakes.  This excellent picture book is the true story of Susanna Dickinson, who survived the Battle of the Alamo.   The Battle of the Alamo was a turning point in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission killing all of the Texian defenders. Santa Anna's cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians—both Texas settlers and adventurers from the United States—to join the Texian Army.  Mrs. Dickinson was called to meet President Santa Anna who sent her to spread word of the Texian defeat to the Texas colonists.  Her story inspired and strengthened Sam Houston in his fight for freedom.   The Texians, led by Houston, defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the revolution.   

Portrait of an unsmiling, middle-aged woman in a voluminous dress. Her hair is piled on the back of her head, with ringlets near her ears. She holds a fan in her hands.
Susanna Dickinson

Monday, February 9, 2015

"Children are not born either good or bad..." - How Far Does Heredity Count? - Part 2

Principle 2: Children are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for good and evil. 

In Part 1 of this series, I proposed that Charlotte Mason's second principle was her rejection to the evolutionary theories taking root in her time. Charlotte is careful not to suggest an alternative scientific theory, but she clearly does not accept the evolutionary psychologists of her day. 
I am considering a child as he is, and am not tracing him, either with Wordsworth, to the heights above, or with the evolutionist, to the depths below; because a person is a mystery, that is, we cannot explain him or account for him, but must accept him as he is...Having brought ourselves face to face with the wonder of mind in children, we begin to see that knowledge is the aliment of the mind as food.  (A Philosophy of Education, p. 238-239)

Charlotte states that all possibilities of good and evil are present in a child.  When we acknowledge that a child's character is not determined by heredity, then the first task of education should be a moral one, putting "Eduction in her true place as the handmaid of Religion" so we can "foster the good" and "attenuate the evil" possibilities of each child.  However, Charlotte cautions us against spoon feeding moral lessons. 
This education of the feelings, moral education, is too delicate and personal a matter for a teacher to undertake trusting to his own resources. Children are not to be fed morally like young pigeons with predigested food. They must pick and eat for themselves and they do so from the conduct of others which they hear of or perceive. But they want a great quantity of the sort of food whose issue is conduct, and that is why poetry, history, romance, geography, travel, biography, science and sums must all be pressed into service. No one can tell what particular morsel a child will select for his sustenance. One small boy of eight may come down late because "I was meditating upon Plato and couldn't fasten my buttons," and another may find his meat in 'Peter Pan'! But all children must read widely, and know what they have read, for the nourishment of their complex nature.
As for moral lessons, they are worse than useless; children want a great deal of fine and various moral feeding, from which they draw the 'lessons' they require. It is a wonderful thing that every child, even the rudest, is endowed with Love and is able for all its manifestations, kindness, benevolence, generosity, gratitude, pity, sympathy, loyalty, humility, gladness; we older persons are amazed at the lavish display of any one of these to which the most ignorant child may treat us. But these aptitudes are so much coin of the realm with which a child is provided that he may be able to pay his way through life; and, alas, we are aware of certain vulgar commonplace tendencies in ourselves which make us walk delicately and trust, not to our own teaching, but to the best that we have in art and literature and above all to that storehouse of example and precept, the Bible, to enable us to touch these delicate spirits to fine issues.  (A Philosophy of Education, p. 59)
Here we see Charlotte encouraging a "moral education" through "the Bible" and "the best that we have in art and literature", being careful not to "undertake" "moral lessons" based on our own thoughts, views, and "resources".   Charlotte furthers this point here.. 
That is the capital charge against most schools. The teachers underrate the tastes and abilities of their pupils. In things intellectual, children, even backward children, have extraordinary 'possibilities for good'––possibilities so great that if we had the wit to give them their head they would carry us along like a stream in spate...Indeed, the more the teacher works, the greater the incuria of the children,...I can touch here on no more than two potent means of creating incuria in a class. One is the talky-talky of the teacher. We all know how we are bored by the person in private life who explains and expounds....Another soothing potion is little suspected of producing mental lethargy. We pride ourselves upon going over and over the same ground 'until the children know it'; the monotony is deadly.  (A Philosophy of Education, p. 52-53)
Because children are born persons with a desire for knowledge and because they have possibilities for good and evil, by giving them the best books and getting out of the way, we allow them moral teaching to bloom where they are planted. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Children are not born either good or bad..." - How Far Does Heredity Count? - Part 1

We had a small group, but a HUGE discussion last night at our CM Book Club, where we studied Charlotte Mason's second principle:

Children are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for good and evil.  

I believe this is one of Charlotte's most misunderstood principles.  About half way through this month's assigned reading, it occurred to me, contrary to my initial belief, Principle 2 is not theological!  Charlotte wasn't referring to whether or not a child is bound for heaven or doomed to hell.  Rather, she is addressing the issue of "genetic determinism".   

In order to understand this principle, we must first consider her time.  Charlotte Mason lived during the Victorian Era, at a time when science was growing at a rapid pace into the discipline it is today.   Aside from university science, Victorian gentlemen devoted their time to the study of natural history, which was advanced by Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution.  In 1959, Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species.

In the 1890's, Austrian theorist, August Weismann, modified Darwin's theory of natural selection, which was intended to apply to whole organisms.  Weismann proposed that the key factors in the struggle for survival are not organisms, but their genes, which he called "determinants".  Weismann believed these determinants shaped the mind and body. 

According to Karen Glass in her article, Why Did She Have to Say That?, these theories of evolution and genetic determinism, "took root in the realm of psychology and philosophy, and produced a breed of “evolutionary psychologists” who suggested that within the span of their lifetime, human beings played out in miniature the process of evolution.  A child begins life as a single-celled organism and grows and develops into the form of a baby.  According to the evolutionary psychologists, babies’ minds are inferior and incomplete.  They do not possess the “faculties” of rational beings, but during childhood continue the process of their personal evolution, until they finally reach the stage of full-fledged humanity in adulthood."

Regarding these theories of evolution, Charlotte Mason says this:
Other thoughts are in the air.  A baby is a huge oyster (says one eminent psychologist) whose business is to feed, and to sleep, and to grow.  Even Professor Sully, in his most delightful book [Studies of Children], is torn in two.  The children have conquered him, have convinced him beyond doubt that they are as ourselves, only more so.  But then he is an evolutionist, and feels himself pledged to accommodate the child to the principles of evolution.  Therefore the little person is supposed to go through a thousand stages of moral and intellectual development, leading him from the condition of the savage or ape to that of the intelligent and cultivated human being.  If children will not accommodate themselves pleasantly to this theory, why, that is their fault, and Professor Sully is too true a child-lover not to give us the children as they are, with little interludes of the theory upon which they ought to evolve.  Now I have absolutely no theory to advance, and am, on scientific grounds, disposed to accept the theories of the evolutionary psychologists.  But facts are too strong for me.   (Parents and Children, p. 251-252) 
Even though scientists were suggesting these evolutionary and genetic determinism theories in her time, Charlotte did not accept them.  I believe this rejection of evolution is the basis of Charlotte's second principle.  Further, if in fact children are born persons with "possibilities for good and evil", we must nurture those possibilities for good and diminish those for evil.  
The fact seems to be that children are like ourselves, not because they have become so, but because they are born so; that is, with tendencies, dispositions, towards good and towards evil, and also with a curious intuitive knowledge as to which is good and which is evil. Here we have the work of education indicated. There are good and evil tendencies in body and mind, heart, and soul; and the hope set before us that we can foster the good so as to attenuate the evil; that is, on condition that we put Education in her true place as the handmaid of Religion. (A Philosophy of Education, p. 46)

To be continued... Part 2

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Amistad Mutiny...

Both TruthQuest and Beautiful Feet suggest reading a book about the Amistad mutiny in 1839.  La Amistad was a Spanish Schooner carrying African slaves (Mende) abducted from Sierra Leone.  They were to be sold in Cuba, a practice that was illegal at that time.

During the voyage, the slaves rose up and killed most of the crew.  They let the ship's owners live in hopes of returning home.  The slaves ordered the ship turn toward Africa, but the Spaniards tricked them sailing up the Atlantic coast.

After weeks of sailing, the Amistad was escorted by an American ship into the harbor of New London, Connecticut.  Forced ashore from hunger, weariness, and disorientation, the Mende found themselves in a battle for freedom.  They were imprisoned and bound to stand trial.  On January 13, 1840, a judge set them free.

Unfortunately, President Van Buren, became concerned that setting the Mende slaves free would enrage southern slave holders.  As a result, he ordered an appeal so the case must be tried in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Having heard about the mutineers, former President John Quincy Adams came out of retirement to defend the Mende's case.  On March 9, 1841, a week after Adams made his closing arguments, the Supreme Court announced that the Mende slaves were in fact free. It took eight months for abolitionists to raise money to send the Mende back to West Africa. 

Amistad, The Slave Uprising Aboard the Spanish Schooner by Helen Kromer is recommended by Beautiful Feet.  However, it proved to be a little advanced for Ruben, so we opted to read Amistad Rising, A Story of Freedom by Veronica Chambers.  The later is a beautiful picture book recommended in the TruthQuest History guide.

The following is Ruben's narration after reading Amistad Rising...

By Ruben
January 2015

Amistad was a Spanish slave ship.  The slaves took over the ship and ordered the captain to turn back to Africa, but in the night the captain turned back toward America and they got further and further away from Africa.  They finally landed in New England.  The slaves demanded their freedom, but had to go to court.  John Quincy Adams took sides with the slaves.  The slaves won their case and went back to Africa.  They could never be taken as slaves again. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Commonplace Book....Jean Henri Fabre

...The cloud that is floating over the volcano is illumined by the redness of the fire; the sky seems inflamed.  Millions of sparks dart out like lightning to the top of the blazing sheaf, describe great arcs, leaving on their way dazzling trails, and fall in a shower of fire on the slopes of the volcano.  These sparks, so small from a distance, are incandescent masses of stone, sometimes several meters in dimensions, and of a sufficient momentum to crush the most solid buildings in their fall.  What hand-made machine could throw such masses of rock to such heights?  What all our efforts united could not do even once, the volcano does over and over again, as if in play.  - Jean Henri Fabre, The Story Book of Science (Chapter 25, Volcanoes)

...Three or four stout-hearted men revive the courage of the terrified population; they hope that heaven will aid them in their devotion, and, ready to sacrifice their lives, they prevent the frightful disaster.  Ah! may God give you grace, my dear child, to imitate them in the time of danger; for, you see, if man is great through his intelligence, he is still greater through his heart.  In my old age, when I hear you spoken of, I shall be more gladdened by the good you may have done than by the knowledge you may have acquired.  Knowledge, my little friend, is only a better means of aiding others...  - Jean Henri Fabre, The Story Book of Science (Chapter 26, Catania)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Riley's Reviews...and Sample Narration - Justin Morgan Had a Horse...

Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry tells the story of a horse named Little Bub, the father of the American Morgan horse breed.  He's owned by a schoolmaster and singing teacher named Justin Morgan.  Little Bub later inherits his owner's name. Justin Morgan Had a Horse is a true story.  RileyAnn read Justin Morgan Had a Horse through the Beautiful Feet History of the Horse guide.  The following is her narration...

Justin Morgan was a traveling teacher in the Green Mountains of Vermont.  Farmer Beane owed a debt to Justin Morgan.  When Justin Morgan went to collect his debt, Farmer Beane didn't have the money so he gave Morgan his two colts, Ebeneezer and Little Bub.  One of Morgan's pupils, Joel Goss, went along with Morgan to collect the debt because the school master lived with Joel's family.

When they got back to Joel's house, Joel's father didn't want to board Justin Morgan nor his horses anymore.  Morgan moved out, but before he did, he asked Joel to break Little Bub because he needed to sell him to get money.  Joel reluctantly agreed. One day while Justin Morgan was teaching, a man came to school and wanted to rent Little Bub for one year to clear his land.

Meanwhile, Joel's father apprenticed him for seven years to Mr. Chase, a miller and inn keeper.  While men were waiting at the mill for their lumber to be sawed, they often had pulling matches.  Men bet on their favorite horses or oxen and whoever won got money.  One day when Joel was working at the mill, Little Bub's renter, Mr. Evans, came in with Little Bub to have logs sawed.  When he arrived, the men were having a pulling match.  None of the big work horses or oxen could pull the stout log.  Evans stated that Little Bub could pull the log.  All the men thought it was a joke, but Little Bub proved them wrong when he not only pulled the log, but with three men on it. 

After the match, Little Bub's fame spread all over Vermont. When the year's rent was up, Justin Morgan got Little Bub back and he used him on his singing circuit traveling from town to town giving children singing lessons.  He continued to compete in pulling matches and won many races, eventually going on to beat two of the finest Thoroughbred horses.  Folks paid a lot of money for Little Bub to sire their foals. 

After Justin Morgan died and Joel's apprenticeship was done, Joel tried to find Little Bub, who's new name was changed to Justin Morgan after his previous owner.  When Joel tried to buy Little Bub at an auction, he failed and felt quite miserable.  Shortly after, the War of 1812 broke out and Joel enlisted to help the wounded horses, unsuccessfully hoping to find Little Bub in one of the battles. 

One cold night after the war, when Joel was a grown man, he and his friend, were on their way to a meeting house to discuss a new library.  Joel heard something in the wind and he thought it was Little Bub's whinny.  He followed the sound to Mr. Chase's inn.  Joel found Little Bub in a team of six horses parked outside the inn.  Joel went inside to find Little Bub's owner because he wanted to buy him.   Joel borrowed money from Mr. Chase and purchased Justin Morgan, formerly known as Little Bub. 

During a parade for James Monroe's inauguration as president, Monroe's horse got a bumble bee in his ear and started to buck.  James Monroe quickly dismounted his horse and needed to find a new one to ride.  Joel and Justin Morgan lined up with other horses and their riders to see which horse the new president would select.  James Monroe picked Justin Morgan.  At the end of the story, Joel Goss declares that Justin Morgan is an true American.  

For additional information on the BF Horse study, you can check out a BF History of the Horse Lipizzaner post here. Justin Morgan Had a Horse is also a Sonlight recommendation.