Another week of school down. Three days left in 1st grade for Des! And he’s excited, since I promised him a celebration with his favorite: chocolate cake. For finishing 1st grade, and for the milestone of having read fifty chapter books (since March)! I was going to get him a little something, but we’re quite literally out of money, so I won’t be able to do that after all. But I already have the cake mix here, so he will get the cake. 🙂
This week, Gray finished up his geometry unit and we’ve moved on to introducing algebra. This is all just the last six weeks of his arithmetic course. They introduce several new things during the last six weeks, to get him ready for next year. Though, as I’ve explained recently, we won’t be using Abeka next year for him. His Chalk Dust pre-algebra dvds and textbook came in already, and he’s all set to start that when we’re done with 6th grade. I’m unsure about him using a college text…looking through it, it seems so advanced. But we’ll se how it goes…many homeschoolers use this program, so it’s do-able. If it is indeed too advanced for him, we’ll revert to Teaching Textbooks Algebra I & II. He’s got a mind for algebra (and all math, actually), so he may just do really well with the advanced style of Chalk Dust. I can’t wait to see what he does. Homeschooling is a constant adventure! 🙂
In grammar, Gray’s doing more punctuation work. This week he went over commas, apostrophes, colons, and semicolons. Not much to say here. It’s boring and menial.
Des did some more multiplication work this week, as well as learned roman numerals. Abeka is big on roman numerals, so he’ll be expanding on that in coming years…it’s nice to be going through each grade knowing what’s coming this time, having done it all with Gray in previous years.
Des is done with 1st grade phonics, but we’ve been reviewing all his special sounds until he finishes up with arithmetic. It sounds boring, and it really is. I can’t wait to move on to second grade with him.
We didn’t do anatomy this week, because I’m waiting on P to design something for us that we need in order to move on, but we did stay focused on bones. The boys checked out several fun books from the library about bones and the skeletal system. One is finished reading them, and the other is still reading.
Remember the chicken bone experiment? Well, the chicken bones that stayed in vinegar turned completely rubbery. It was pretty gross. The bones that stayed in water? Well, they were just wet. But still hard as bones should be.
In history, we studied Nicolaus Copernicus, William Tyndale, and Bartolomé de Las Casas. Still in the 1500s. Something interesting about Copernicus: he came up with the theory that the Earth orbits the Sun, rather than the other way around, which was the widely-held belief at the time. But spent his life afraid to publish his theories, because of the Roman church, which was still very much in power during the 1500s, despite the progress of the Reformation. They deemed anything they disagreed with as heresy, and—going against all semblance of Christianity—heretics were burned at the stake. So his theories were only published after his death, and, sure enough, the Roman church deemed them heretical.
The Roman church also deemed William Tyndale a heretic. His crime? He bypassed the Latin Vulgate and translated the Hebrew & Greek scriptures into English—a huge step in getting the Bible into the hands of the masses, which the Roman Church was very much against. King Henry VIII and his Church of England also went along with this, so Tyndale became a wanted man. He fled England, and from elsewhere in Europe he and his supporters continued having Bibles printed in English, and smuggled into England. In the end, though, Tyndale was betrayed, and the church, once again acting against the teachings of Christ, had him strangled and burned at the stake. But his work was accomplished, and thanks to Tyndale, the Reformation moved forward. I showed the boys how many of the Bibles we own have the Tyndale logo on them, thanks to Tyndale Publishing.
Remember all the atrocities committed against Native Americans by so many European explorers and settlers from previous lessons? Well, Bartolemé de Las Casas was a rare light during this time period. He was one of the few people at the time who saw the Natives as fully human and worthy of the same rights as everyone else. He spent his entire life fighting to end the mistreatment of Native Americans. He failed over and over, because the powers that be, as well as the masses, were more concerned about money and land acquisition than the mistreatment and virtual enslavement (they used the feudal system) of the Natives. He finally wrote some books about his first-hand experiences with atrocities in the New World, and some people did pay attention, but little was done to change things. As would be expected, Las Casas is viewed as quite the hero all throughout Central and South America.
Back to the Tyndale lesson. We did an activity to demonstrate (in a tiny way) what it’s like to have to smuggle Bibles, as many Christians all over the world do on a daily basis—at risk to their freedom and their lives. I got out a small New Testament Bible. Each person in our family, starting with Gray, had the task of “smuggling” the Bible into our living area at some point in the day—while other people were around, leaving it there for a while, and then “smuggling” it back out again to safety. If Gray managed to do this on his day without being caught, he was to pass it to Desmond, who would attempt to do it the next day. If he succeeded, he passed it to me, and if I succeed, I pass it to Philip for him to try. The trick is, no one can catch you doing it. If someone catches you, you get arrested and killed (hypothetically, of course). So far, both Gray and Des have managed to “smuggle” it in and out without getting caught. Today is my day. So far, I’ve managed to smuggle it in undetected, and I’ll attempt to smuggle it out later today. If I succeed, I pass it to Philip, to see if he can do it without getting caught. It’s a fun take on a very serious subject.
*UPDATE* As I was posting the above picture of my brilliant smuggling job, Des came and looked over my shoulder, saw the picture, and immediately looked up at the bookcase, announcing, “You’re caught! Get the torches!” Oops! So dear readers, I’ve failed in my mission. I suppose Tyndale would tell me how foolish it was to openly blog about my smuggling, with the “authorities” in the same room. Hopefully Philip will be more successful than I was. 😉