Thursday, August 13, 2009

Allen Academics -- posted by John

Dad is into reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy so he recorded the movie with Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn for us. We watched most of it last night, and we wanted to keep watching it, but our heavy eyelids got in the way. Dad is reading the book with a cheat sheet by his side with all of the families listed. Evidently it isn't easy to read because of the Russian names, at least not for Dad.

Mom is hitting us hard on grammar and punctuation these days. She said our posts and emails have gotten so casual that they are embarrassing. She is including herself in that, too!

She gave us some quizzes for the fun of it and I was the only one in the room who knew that the word for bigness is enormousness, not enormity. Enormity means evil. (We also worked on vocabulary.)

Here are some fun quizzes:

quiz 1

quiz 2

Here is a funny website; click on the blog:

So, lay is the past tense of lie and pronouns are possessive without an apostrophe and I could go on and on with all I've learned in the last two days.

Changing the subject, we thought all our bush beans had burned up but today when I went out to do my farm chores, I discovered a huge harvest!

Last night Mom and Sarah Grace made some delicious Beef Stroganoff and that reminds me that Sarah Grace is going to make authentic international cuisine for our geography study this year. We are using a book Mom found called Van Loon's Geography for our geography study this year. It is a wonderful read aloud book! We are doing our study by a continent each month, so Dad said he couldn't wait to try Sarah's cuisine from Antarctica! I guess it will be a month of penguin, fish, and snow cones!

Sarah Grace wants us to hurry up and get fluent enough in Spanish so that she can facilitate our French. Mom doesn't think we should try to tackle two languages at once especially since we also take Koine Greek. Spanish is the most practical speaking language for us to learn first. The older kids learned some Spanish before we went to Mexico, but I was too young. Sarah Grace has her heart set on us becoming fluent in French before we go to Europe. Dad's family is German but there has been no mention of us learning it.

I'm looking forward to school starting up full blast again!


Dad just came home from work and informed us that he wants us to do a study on Russia while he is reading War and Peace. Dad said that Catherine the Great decreed that French was the official language of the Russian court which explains why the main character's name is Pierre and why there was affection and admiration for France within the Russian aristocracy. This is also why some of the characters at the beginning of War and Peace were conflicted about Napolean's conquests which they knew needed to be stopped. Also, in the novel, Tolstoy has characters speaking in both French and Russian which is lost in the English translation. When characters use French, it is when they are being insincere, and Russian when they are being the most honest. When Pierre tells Princess Hellene he loves her, it is in French. (Ah ha.) By the end of the novel, when the characters have developed a greater degree of self-knowledge and emotional honesty, they speak only in Russian. Dad said this is but another gap in his education that he is currently filling while also homeschooling. Glad we could help!

Dad also said we could have a few sips of his White Russian cocktail, too.

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