Friday, October 7, 2011

A History Post

I have been experimenting with timeline figures.  I don't really like either format so far, but I'm putting them up to show what I was working on during my quiet time today.  One's too light, one's too black.

In the files I put a couple of small timeline pages:

  • One is The Life of Jesus (pdf) -- just a few images from Jesus's life.    I was going to add more, but I ran out of time.
  •  Another is from 33-34 AD (pdf) .   St Paul, St Stephen and Pentecost are there, because that is what we were reading about in Founders of Freedom.  In fact, they are the same images that I put above, only in color.  

Afternoon Time is becoming an occasion for talking about Everything-Under-The-Sun.  Which is good; I wanted it to be like that.   Kieron is hungry for verbally sorting things out.  I remember being 15!   And conversing with him helps make up for the fact that I'm reading books geared towards 4th to 6th graders.

Today during St Patrick's Summer, we talked about The BIg Bang and when Time began, and black holes, and the event horizon, and sibling rivalry.  Then during Founders of Freedom (which concerned the early Christian community and how it compared to Communism) we talked about The Matrix, which Kieron recently watched, and The Lives of Others, which Kevin (not Kieron) recently watched (I fell asleep) and told me about at great length.We also recently talked about Exam, which I watched with Kevin (not Kieron).    These movies bring up interesting questions about morality and how to live in the world.

St Patrick's Summer is an interesting book.   I used to have two other books by Marigold Hunt, retellings of the Bible story, which I could not get into and eventually sold.    St Patrick's Summer was recommended to me, and I got it because I have a Patrick and he was preparing for First Communion last year.  To be honest, I was afraid I would not like it.  It is billed as a "a children's adventure catechism" and that kind of thing usually just makes me feel like my extremities have fallen asleep and are coming painfully back into circulation.  

Yet I find it readable.  Sure, it sounds contrived when I say that the boy and girl first meet St Patrick and then Eve, the mother of us all, and they explain the catechism to the kids.  Honest, I think the form fits the content, here.   The catechism is explained in ideas you won't have to totally unlearn when you get older.   For example, Eve tells the kids how God doesn't see things in time sequence like we do; he can see the beginning and end of history all at once, rather like a pilot might be able to see the whole length of a river at once.  OK, the analogy fails at the point where imagery is insufficient, but I talked with peers in college who could not understand even this much about Time --- they couldn't pull themselves outside the sequence even in their imaginations.

Anyway, it lends itself to discussion.

The Mental Math lecture series is going well.   A lot there I wish I had learned when I was in school.   The general idea is that there are hacks to make pontes asinorum like multiplication and division and fractions quite a bit easier.  He is bringing in algebraic concepts, though Kieron (who felt lost in K12 Algebra in 8th grade) does not realize it.  

The snow stopped but it stayed around freezing all day, meaning that we still have snow on the ground. 

I printed out this Montessori "Christ, Center of History" presentation (pdf) to discuss with the boys, and have been slowly going through this Patron Saints Index Timeline.    Too much information, and you have to click year by year, but that format has made me feel almost like I was living out a time lapse of the persecutions.  There would be years with nothing noted, and then handfuls of martyrs during certain clusters of years, and I knew those were the persecutions.     Here's another Saints Timeline Index.  It's more visually arranged and I think secular.     And here's one that covers the major figures in the early church. 

By the way, Heritage History has really grown since I found it about 3 or 4 years ago.    There are maps and images there, and some biographies, with links to the stories within the site on that character.  You can sort by alphabetical order or by date, and also filter by culture.    I seem to have some trouble with their interface, especially sorting by date, but I like what they're doing there. 

So for example, if I look up Saint Cecilia, I can find two stories about her within the site. 
If I look up Saint Paul, I find 3 images and 5 choices of stories about him from different sources.

If I look up Augustus Caesar, there is enough about him to make a whole rabbit trail. 

Pretty cool.

We are off the ground now with Math, Literature, Religion and History, not to mention Art and Music.  The trick is to keep it at a happy simmer, not an intense broil.   Next week I want to try to add science.   Right now that means nature study (unless we stay buried under snow) and I have a pile of books that Kieron can start reading.  

In addition, I am considering Khan Academy Biology.   Or one of the free iTunes classes you can find.    Or HippoCampus.  Our biology course is a 2 year natural history/biology combo which allows for some flexibility in the details.  We have some biology textbooks around the house but neither of us find ourselves that drawn to them.  We shall see.    There are a lot of neat books at MacBeth's High School Opinion, and he read some of them last year. 


  1. I'm so enjoying your thinking/schooling posts:)
    Conversations particuarly about Faith are some of my fav parts of hsing/parenting.
    We've just started Life of Fred wonder if that is like your Mental Math.

  2. St Patrick's Summer is really gloomy book ever. I have read this book two to three times which shows a story who are preparing to receive their holy communion.


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