Des started 2nd grade this week. It’s all super-basic review, so we doubled up on lessons (he thoroughly knows these concepts by now) and got a little over two weeks’ worth of lessons into just one week. Next week we should be able to do the same. I love that we can do this. He’s doing arithmetic, phonics, and language this year. Phonics will focus not so much on reading the special sounds this time around (since he’s got that down really well), but on spelling properly using the special sounds. His spelling ability, while better than average, could use some work.
Gray has plugged through another week of arithmetic. He did some more work with equations, reviewed how to convert celsius temperatures to fahrenheit & vice-versa, and began a short unit on lines of latitude, longitude, and time zones. In grammar he covered semi-colons and their proper use. I’ve found most of the population does not grasp the proper use of the semi-colon; this concept should be taught more thoroughly in schools. (See what I did there? 😉 )
Jeanne d’Albret was the queen of Navarre (a tiny, former kingdom that sat between France and Spain), and a hero of the French Reformation. Yes, we’re still trudging through the religious war between catholics and protestants that raged violently throughout Europe during the 16th century. Jeanne was an honorable hero because, while she declared her country a protestant country, she did not officially persecute catholics—hers was a kingdom of much more religious freedom than any other at the time.
Catherine de’Medici, on the other hand, who gained the throne and became queen of France, was neither catholic nor protestant. She was a humanist, and didn’t involve herself in matters of religion. However, she did care a great deal about power; she was, in fact, known for being Machiavellian in her tactics. And at the time, most of France was catholic, with the exception of the French Huguenots—which is just a fancy French name for protestants. 😉 There was a catholic priest who was concerned about the growing number of huguenots in France, and he convinced Catherine to have some of their main leaders assassinated—under the guise of them being a threat to her rule. Concerned only about protecting her throne, she gave the order for her army to go and kill these protestant leaders very early one August morning…
That morning happened to fall on the feast day of St. Bartholomew, and the massacre that followed was unprecedented. As these innocent huguenot men were murdered in the streets, the crowds of common people watched—and, shockingly, those who were catholic decided to join in on the killing of huguenots/protestants. Waves of mob violence followed, and the massacre went on for weeks. Innocent men, women, and children alike were dragged out of their homes and murdered in the streets. Rivers were clogged with bodies. In the end, the death toll was massive: most estimates are between 30,000 and 70,000. One of many sad blights on Christendom—though persecuting others for over religious differences is hardly Christian.
As an interesting side note, the massacre and subsequent continued persecution in France caused many French Huguenots to flee France for the New World, in search of freedom. Many of our country’s founding fathers were Huguenots. I thought that was a neat twist to the lesson, and some good news after reading about such a tragedy.
Tonight, as part of our study of the reformation, we’re watching “God’s Outlaw“, a movie about William Tyndale’s fight against the Roman church to get the Bible translated into English. The Roman church did not want the Bible in the hands of common people, but Tyndale had a mission to do just that—by translating the scriptures to English. When told by an archbishop that he must cease and desist, Tyndale retorted, “I defy the pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!” Quite a bold statement, especially considering the times! And with God’s help, he did just as he said he would—even though it ended up costing him his life. Every time we read our Bibles, we have William Tyndale to thank. The full movie is available to watch on youtube…we’re watching it as I type; it’s pretty interesting (at least to history buffs).
Another week down. I was looking through Gray’s remaining course work this week, and if we continue doing some of the review lessons on weekends, we will be done with 6th grade before the midpoint of June. That’s about three more weeks! We’re both very motivated to push as hard as we can to finish up as soon as possible. The sooner we finish, the more weeks we get to take off before we have to start again in late July.