Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

For Our Upperclassmen 10/25 -- posted by Momma

Here are your short stories. Do the vocabulary recognition, vocabulary exercises, reading assignment, comprehension and recall questions in the student companion. Be prepared to discuss the critical thinking and bonus questions, but don't bother to write those down.

The Lady or The Tiger -- Frank Stockton

Rip Van Winkle -- Washington Irving

Hop-Frog -- Edgar Allan Poe

The Fight -- Augustus Baldwin Longstreet

Here are a few other things I want y'all to read in preparation for discussion:

Listen to this audio clip of Mark Steyn's acceptance speech he gave when he received the Free Press Society's journalistic prize, the Sappho Award. The sound quality isn't great, especially in the beginning when he is being introduced, but suffer through it-- it's worth it.

While you're at it, watch this clip:

Please read these short articles on the NPR firing of Juan Williams. Keep in mind that Juan Williams is a liberal. First, watch the clip that got him fired from NPR:

Also, hear what Juan Williams has to say about the firing:

The articles:

Michelle Malkin Free the Taxpayers: Defund State-Sponsored Media

Rich Lowry The Closing of NPR’s Mind

The Editors Let NPR Pay Its Own Way

Here's an article I want y'all to read on the European budget cuts. More on this later:

Jonah Goldberg
Fools Rush In Where Europe Rushes Out

Have you seen this yet?

I love this first Mark Lowry version of Mary, did you know? because I like the vocals better than the second version, but I love the cello and Spanish guitar in the second one. So, I posted them both.

Also, don't forget to keep up with The Man in the Iron Mask student companion. Even though it is a family read-aloud, it still counts for hs literature.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Billy's London Town -- posted by John

Yesterday, Billy went to the Natural History Museum in London to see the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year special exhibit. Here's a picture he took of the museum when he arrived:

And you won't believe the rest of the building!


Of course, he couldn't take pictures of the exhibition, but we looked at the online gallery. The photographs are really cool.

This is the winner of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He got chiggers from lying on the ground to get this shot:


This is the winner of the Veolia Environnement Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year:


Here's the link to the junior awards. They are fantastic and inspiring!


There was a South Carolinian photographer, too!


You can look at this YouTube video of Mac Stone's photography in Francis Beidler Forest. It is amazing!


After Billy visited the Natural History Museum, he went to the National Gallery. He also took a picture of Trafalgar Square. You can see Nelson's Column, and Big Ben in the distance:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Romans 7 -- posted by Momma

We're at the chapters around and including Romans 7 in our Bible reading and I had such a rush describing to the children and Billy about the day I had my eureka on that chapter.

Chapter 7
is the one where Paul laments his unredeemed state by describing how he is sold under sin and can't do the good things he wants to do, but rather does the very things he doesn't want to do. Only, it is written in the present tense, which would suggest to the ignorant that he was in that state while he was writing it.

At the time, I wasn't really aware of the literary technique of "flashback" or "literary/historical present tense," but I was surely a victim of it (or should I say beneficiary). Actually, I was familiar with it in secular writing, but it never occurred to me that that's what was happening in Romans chapter 7. I'd read it hundreds of times, at a minimum, and each time I would nod and agree with Paul and groan about my ever-present sin nature that prevented me from being able to completely obey the Lord. I wasn't in gross sin at that time, but nevertheless I knew I wasn't completely minding the Lord. And before I was enlightened, the Lord had me well convinced that I was indeed still a miserable sinner, i.e., "O wretched man that I am!" This literary technique is used to help the reader closely identify with the writing in a "you are there" sort of way.

That's right where the Lord wanted me so he could show me that I was still sold under sin, not yet converted into a NEW creation where "old things pass away and all things become new." It was same ol' same ol' even though I had prayed "the sinner's prayer" and had been baptized. I wasn't yet able to "go and sin no more" like he commanded. I knew I wasn't walking "even as Christ walked." Oh, I knew all the commands to holiness, and I also knew it didn't say try to be holy, it said "be ye holy." I didn't understand that in order to be holy without trying took resurrection power, even though the Bible repeatedly tells us that our righteousness doesn't count for diddly.

By and by I grew to love the Lord so much that forgiveness for sins just wasn't enough for me, and I would pour out my frustration to the Lord that I didn't want to sin against him, ever. I got so sick of sinning, that the day came when I told him that if living in this body of death with a sin nature was all I had to look forward to in this life, then I would rather he take me out, because I surely knew I would be free from sinning against him in heaven. EUREKA! That was the day I chose the Lord over my own life and died to sin. That was the day the Lord opened my eyes to many scriptures that I was incapable of understanding before. It was the perfect storm of scriptures, life situations, and my despair about my Adamic nature that brought me to the new birth.

As most literature students are aware, context is important, but with the Bible, I somehow managed to pluck Romans chapter 7 out from being sandwiched between chapters 6 and 8 which describe our victory over sinning. At the time, I didn't realize that living like chapter 7 put me in contradiction to chapters 6&8. Chapter 7 is the life of the hypocrite, not a child of God. Paul plainly states in the beginning of Romans 8 verse 1 "There is therefore NOW no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (emphasis mine)

Paul clearly shows the difference between then (unredeemed) and NOW (born-again). I say clearly, but truth is, it is only clear to those who really want to see it. It wasn't until I wanted to mind the Lord more than I wanted my next breath that I could understand those verses that seemed to contradict the possibility of walking in newness of life.

I knew that each time I sinned against God, I may as well have bowed down before Satan, his great enemy, and kissed his feet. Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? I got to where I couldn't bear the slightest sin. I would go watery inside in guilt and shame, and each day brought deeper self-hatred. Yes, self-hatred is necessary for the new birth.

For me, 1 John especially kept me tripped up until I was brought to the new birth. 1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" seemed to contradict I John 3:9 "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." But once again, I read 1 John 1:8 as a verse unto itself without reading it in the context of chapter 1, much less the whole book. 1 John 1:8 is addressing all those who deny we are born with a sin nature. Many preach that we are born without a sin nature. The very next verse (9) states that "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." In just another two verses John goes on in chapter 2 to explain "1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:" Notice it says if any man sin. He's talking about the natural man, not saints, the sanctified, those redeemed by God.

Oh, how the Lord opened my eyes and made simple the many things that had confounded me for years. It was like a light switch had been turned on that day.

And yet even as I write this I know that the only ones who will really understand it are like the scribe in Mark 12:

28And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

32And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

33And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

34And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Married Life Scene From "Up!" -- posted by Momma

I'm just posting this to make Will cry like a girl.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sharpshooters! -- posted by John

Sunday afternoon, Mom, Dad, a few of my brothers and I, had target practice with our guns and bows. Actually, Dad supervised and kept Macy from getting in the way.

I had been looking forward to my mom and me having a contest. When Mom was a girl, one of her hobbies was marksmanship and she is very good. She first learned to shoot a BB gun from her granddaddy and later her father taught her to shoot shotguns. He also bought her a skeet thrower when she was a teenager. I hope it is still somewhere in Ma's stuff because I would love to try to hit clay pigeons with the shotguns! We only shoot stationary targets at home and the rifle range. She thinks it was like this one, except it didn't have a seat like that:

The contest Mom and I had was two rounds. The first round was whoever could shoot down the most cans in ten shots. The second round was whoever got the most shots closest to the bull's eye on the target with twenty shots. It was a great competition because Mom and I tied. She won the first round, and I won the second round.

Saturday, when Mom was familiarizing herself with the gun (since she hadn't shot in a while), she took down a can with her first shot, and continued to blow them away. Everybody in the family kept telling me I was going to lose because Mom is the best shot in the house. They were trying to prepare me for disappointment.

One funny thing that happened was when Mom missed several shots in a row and we realized she had forgotten that she had put her glasses on her head!

Since Mom hit the bull's eye twice, and I didn't hit it any, I thought she had won the second competition as well, but then she explained to me that our competition was whoever hit the most shots within and closest to the bull's eye. I barely beat her so it's not like I rubbed it in. Besides, I wouldn't be obnoxious about beating my mother... maybe James, but never Momma.

George got a compound bow for his birthday on September 28. James helped him learn how to use it and George just keeps getting better all the time. (James had just gotten home from work and had stripped off his work shirt, that's why he had on an undershirt in the pictures.) We take special care to stick to safety procedures when shooting compound bows because they can be very dangerous since they increase the power of the bow well beyond arm strength.

Anyway, Sunday afternoon was so much fun that we might do it again this weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Minerals -- posted by John, George, and Richard

The purpose of this science experiment was to learn about the properties of different minerals. The minerals were Hematite, Magnetite, Calcite, Quartz, and Talc.

Minerals are inorganic. That means they come from nonliving sources. Also, minerals exist in one phase of matter, and that is a solid.

Another thing about minerals is that they have a certain crystal shape, and you can see that under a magnifying glass or a microscope. We had the salt out so we could see that it has a repeating pattern of cubes.

We pretended to be geologists and we put each mineral on a card and did some testing.

First, we did a streak test on a piece of tile to determine if the mineral was dark or light. Then, we did a hardness test to see if the mineral was hard or soft. We scratched the mineral with a #3 pencil, then a fingernail, a coin (which happened to be a Chinese coin for the fun of it), and an iron nail. If none of these scratched it, we tested if the mineral could scratch the glass.

Another test we did was to determine if the mineral was magnetic, and we bet you can tell from the names which one was! The Magnetite looked hairy with all the magnetic pieces sticking out.

The last test we performed was the test to see if the minerals could make a gas. We placed the minerals in a centimeter of vinegar and watched the Calcite make big bubbles of carbon dioxide.

Notice all those balloons in the slide show? Mom and Sarah got those for Billy's birthday since his parents came here to the "Land of the Free" on holiday, and Billy was at home without them on his birthday. They got stars because Billy likes looking at the sky. Spencer's birthday was the next day (9/22), so we tied them around his chair. Then we tied them around George's chair on his birthday (9/28). If they can make it until tomorrow, we'll tie them around Richard's chair and those balloons will do quadruple duty! There were also about six regular helium balloons, but they only lasted the first day. It sure did make a spectacular display for Billy's birthday video conference though.

Steyn on Johnny Mercer (part 2) -- posted by Momma

We so loved this two-part tribute to the music of Johnny Mercer. Unfortunately with the three older boys working, we hardly ever have the opportunity to study a subject all together anymore.

After listening to this, Will (22) got nostalgic and requested that we all do a novel read-aloud on the deck (like the good ol' days) now that the weather has cooled off. Everyone excitedly agreed.

It's times like these that, despite all the criticism I got for homeschooling, I know it was the right thing for our family. The older children have each told me they will never forget all the wonderful things we did and learned together, and they've never felt like they missed out on anything by not going to private or government schools.

Here's part 1 in case you missed it:

Part 2:

Dumbest Generation? -- posted by Momma

A few weeks ago I had a wake-up call when Sarah Grace went to write a personal note and her handwriting looked, well, like shards of letters. Even though we value a lovely "hand," especially for women (and Grandmom and Aunt Mary's are practically perfect), Sarah's once delicate script had taken an edge, so to speak. She realized she was so out of practice with her handwriting, that her hand had "frozen up," and she had lost it! She's practicing now, but other than thank-you notes, there is hardly ever the occasion for her to write the old-fashioned way.

That's such a let-down for me because one of my favorite things as a young woman was my stationery wardrobe. I used to get in so much trouble with my mother for all the money I spent on paper! I just love the feel of fine paper and all the latest/greatest in unique cards. Unfortunately, my handwriting looks like that of a third grader, but it's not for lack of trying! Oh how I would practice, but nevertheless I think I was prevented by the sheer size of my Shaquille O'Neal hands. Still though, that never stopped me from indulging in the best of Crane.

After reading this article, I checked to make sure everybody here can perfectly write in cursive, tie their shoes, zip their jackets, use a can opener, catch a bus, plunge a toilet, unjam the garbage disposal, etc. God forbid that the children of the homeschooling sanctimommy lack in any skill. I'm kidding, I did recently find out that a couple of the little boys (no name release) didn't know their birth date or how to spell their middle name. Whoa. And oops.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Steyn on Johnny Mercer part 1

We've always meant to post our favorite homeschooling experiences, but regretfully, we haven't consistently made the effort. This morning the family thoroughly enjoyed part 1 of Mark Steyn's audio presentation on Johnny Mercer.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Cheeky Monkey -- posted by Richard

My birthday is October 8 and Billy sent me a card too, but I couldn't wait to open it since George opened his. Billy calls me Cheeky Monkey. I make riddles for Billy but he doesn't get them yet. I like talking to Billy when Sarah is on AOL or Skype with him. We are buddies.



My Very Special Birthday Card -- posted by George

On September 28, I had my tenth birthday and I got a card from Billy who lives in England. The card is really cool, and I love it! It has Indiana Jones on it and Indiana Jones uses a bullwhip like me. Dr. Indiana Jones is the reason I got a bullwhip. The card is like no other card I've seen before.